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Barbershop 2: Back in Business

When a small, cheaply made comedy makes sextuple its budget...what is the obvious step to take after that? Make a sequel! That’s just what MGM did with their 2002 hit Barbershop, they milked it for all it was worth. The first Barbershop was mildly amusing at best, so there it is no surprise that Barbershop 2: Back in Business should warrant MGM putting a “Closing” sign on the doors of this franchise. In the first movie, Calvin (Ice Cube) spent a day struggling to come to grips with taking over his family business, finally taking on the endeavor in the end. Now, Calvin’s a little older, a little wiser, and a staple in the community. So when a popular chain of Barbershops (called “Nappy Cuts”) sets up across the street as direct competition, Calvin will do whatever it takes to make sure he keeps his business.

This movie fails from the opening scene. Beginning as a flashback to the fourth of July in the 60's, the entire movie has a bunch of flashbacks sewn throughout following Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) over the course of several decades. One would think the flashbacks would ring poignant to the overall plot of the film, instead it just resolves a mediocre B-story that never really pays off. The overall story doesn’t have a real resolution either. But that’s okay because it’s a comedy. Comedies can have plot holes as long as it’s a belly laugh of a good time. Sadly, this isn’t. If you were stoned out of your mind from the finest and most potent marijuana in the world, this movie still wouldn’t induce even the slightest chuckle. The obligatory critic quote on the back of the DVD case states “You’ll need a second viewing just to catch all the jokes!”, which is not glorifying the movie one bit, because in that second viewing you would have partake in the cinematic equivalent of playing Where’s Waldo? Still, this could be worse, say as bad as White Chicks.

Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer carry this movie just like the last. Their supporting cast has less to do this time around but still manages to find their way into the film. Harry Lennix is the antagonist in the flick, playing the dirty real estate tycoon Quentin Leroux, completely unrecognizable from his role as Commander Lock in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Leroux do I say this...more Black...sort of. Kenan Thompson joins the barber team at the shop as Calvin’s cousin Kenard, and, like Kenan, is in dire need of Valium. That over the top thing might have worked on Nickelodeon when you were a teenager, but tone it down buddy. You’re 26 for God’s sake. It pains me to say he’s a “Saturday Night Live” cast member. Queen Latifah is thrown in the mix of all the guys that are walking around the world of Calvin’s Barbershop. She appears in two and half scenes that would have been cut out in any other movie, but instead is used for a stepping stone for November’s Beauty Shop spin-off. Kill me now.

Overall Barbershop 2: Back in Business is unfunny and full of more holes than Courtney Love. So as a sequel it’s pretty good. Even after its total suckitude it made a profit, so Beauty Shop isn’t dead in the water. It could have been funnier, but instead it was cranked out too fast in order to take advantage of the original’s popularity and failed miserably. You might want to call it Barbershop: Full Throttle. This “Special Edition” includes outtakes, deleted scenes, music videos, a photo gallery, and two commentaries.

The outtakes, labeled “Hilarious Outtakes”, are nothing more than an edited montage of the actors giggling and badly ad-libbing, and all to a musical score. It may be “Hilarious” to them, but I ain’t laughing. Usually after seeing deleted scenes one can see why they were deleted in the first place, in this case the scenes could’ve easily been cut into the movie, but they opted to keep a lot worse stuff that could’ve hit the cutting room floor. The music videos are lame R&B songs that are plopped in there to please the main demographic that would go out and buy this disc. The photo gallery, it’s a photo gallery of course it’s boring.

Usually when there are two commentaries, one is tedious while the other is amusing. Not here. Both commentaries, the Audio Commentary from director Kevin Rodney Sullivan and producers Robert Teitel and George Tillman, Jr. and the Video Commentary from cast members Cedrice the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, Troy Garity, and Jazsmin Lewis are equally as torturous. The difference between the two was that with the Video Commentary, randomly in the movie a little screen pops up showing the cast sitting there bored out of their minds watching the movie. I’ve said it a thousand times, commentaries are supposed to be insightful. Yet the only insight in this movie one got from watching the commentaries was Troy Garity saying, “It was hot that day”.

There were a lot of features on this disc. However, because I thought the movie was pretty bad I may have premeditated my tainted outlook while watching the extras. But there is no mistaking the lack of quality. Quality is better than quantity. A bad movie with a few good features is a hell of a lot better than a bad movie with a truckload of bad ones.