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Barbershop 2: Back in Business

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 6 Feb
Barbershop 2: Back in Business
from Film Forum, 02/12/04

"I was one of those looking forward to part two," admits critic J. Robert Parks (Phantom Tollbooth) in his review of Barbershop 2: Back in Business. "I'm happy to say [it] does not disappoint."

The sequel chronicles the continuing conversational capers of Calvin (Ice Cube), who inherited a barbershop in the first film and discovered its important role in the community as a place of civilized debate over all sorts of volatile issues. In fact, the debates of the first film were more than just funny—they were provocative and controversial, setting off a highly publicized debate about humor and propriety. (You can revisit critics' impressions of the first Barbershophere.)

While this episode steers clear of controversy, Parks argues that it has its virtues. "One of the things I like about the Barbershop franchise is how it focuses on the little aspects of life. Calvin isn't trying to save the world; he's just trying to carve out a place for him, his wife, and his new baby. Does he sell the shop while he still can get some money for it? Does he try to ride out the competition? These are real questions, and the film treats them as worthy of portrayal." He concludes that he'd like to see this become a television series where these characters could develop over time.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) is also somewhat impressed. "While some might find the raw repartee off-putting, it is refreshing to see a depiction of an ethnically diverse group not only co-existing peacefully but thoroughly enjoying each other's company."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "The filmmakers … focus on what made the first film so successful—the camaraderie that existed within the shop itself." He also cautions parents about "profanity and plenty of sexual references."

Steven Isaac (Plugged In) says the jokes "seem more carefully selected this time around. The targets are generally safer ones … and the implications more politically correct. But this film doesn't wield as much positivity, either. Nor is it as effective with its political and cultural satire."

Phil Boatwright (Movie Reporter) agrees that it contains "very little that could be considered biting satire. Forced and often silly, the subjects and characterizations have all the subtlety of a barber's joke."

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) calls it "a very funny, charming, heartwarming movie with a strong, positive reference to Jesus Christ and the New Testament. That's why it's doubly regrettable that the filmmakers included so much foul language and too many sexual innuendoes and references."

Mainstream critics, while generally impressed by the movie, still find this to be the lesser of the two 'shops.

from Film Forum, 02/26/04

After seeing Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Kevin Miller (Relevant) calls it "muddled, directionless and rehashed."

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