‘Barbershop 2: Back in Business’

If “Barbershop” was Ice Cube’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the sequel is his “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” The 2002 original cast Ice Cube as a successor to James Stewart and Frank Capra’s George Bailey, a malcontent quietly seething over the confines of the family business until circumstance teaches him the richness of his life.

The equally warmhearted follow-up puts Ice Cube in the footsteps of Stewart and Capra’s Jefferson Smith, a naive idealist battling corrupt business and political forces in the name of communal decency. It’s another winning formula, maintaining the original’s mix of sweetness and urban attitude.

With Cedric the Entertainer, Queen Latifah, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Troy Garity.

Rated: PG-13 for language, sexual material and brief drug references. Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.

‘Catch That Kid’

Like a poor man’s “Spy Kids,” this movie about a trio of preteens who plot a bank heist has none of the whiz-bang gizmos of Robert Rodriguez’s trilogy.

That should be a good thing; the “Spy Kids” movies grew increasingly slick and bombastic. But “Catch That Kid” also lacks the essential ingredient in all great kids movies: fun. Indie director Bart Freundlich, making his first big studio film, has turned out something that’s surprisingly slow, ugly and – worst of all – boring. In this remake of a Danish caper, Kristen Stewart (Jodie Foster’s daughter in “Panic Room”) enlists two friends (Max Thieriot and Corbin Bleu) to help her steal money to pay for her father’s surgery. Rated: PG for some language, thematic elements and rude humor. Rating: 1 1/2 out of 4 stars.

‘Miracle’

Nearly everyone already knows how this film ends, even though a generation has been born since the underdog U.S. hockey team upset the dominant Soviets during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.

The fact that director Gavin O’Connor still manages to build palpable suspense is a testament to how entertaining the film is.

The hockey sequences are shot and edited beautifully – you feel as if you’re being checked into the boards, as if the puck is flying at your face through the back of the net.

Kurt Russell, in the showy role of coach Herb Brooks, finds enough nuance to avoid being a caricature.

It may sound like a glorified made-for-TV movie, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the deafening chants of “USA! USA!” Rated: PG for language and some rough sports action. Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.


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