Friday After Next

on November 22, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
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The "Friday" series of comedy films, developed by rapper/writer/director/actor Ice Cube, is the mostly unlikely of successful film franchises. But there they are--an insanely successful trilogy of lewd, ethnocentric, coarse, pot-headed comedies set in the 'hood. Of course, Cheech and Chong struck gold with their films about a couple of dope-smoking losers, too, so why shouldn't Cube and his current cohort, Mike Epps ("Next Friday"), have their day at the top of the box-office charts? The "Friday" films are certainly no worse than all those Cheech and Chong movies--though they're no better, either.

This time out, Friday falls in the midst of the Christmas season, South Central style, where the Santas steal gifts rather than leaving them. Finally out of their parents' homes, Craig (Cube) and Day-Day (Epps) get hit by a skinny thieving Santa who not only gets all their gifts but takes the rent money as well. Now they've got one day--Friday--to get paid, get evicted...or worse. They take jobs as security guards in the mini-mall where their fathers have a barbecue joint next to a fly-infested donut shop and a pimp shop (yes, in the 'hood, pimps apparently have shops) run my a micro mini-pimp called Money Mike (Katt Williams in a film-stealing performance) and his number one ho, Donna (K.D. Aubert). Eventually it all devolves into a Christmas Eve party where Craig tries to hook up with Donna, Day-Day tries to prevent Craig from hooking up with Donna, Craig's dad (John Whitherspoon) deals with his continuing bowel issues, the skinny thieving Santa gets caught and beat down with a Christmas tree, and the little pimp falls prey to a giant ex-con who has an affection for cute little pimps in shiny clothes.

This is all so insane it's actually funny--sometimes. Mostly it's just hackneyed banter, loose ad-libs, inane chase scenes and stereotypes strung together at a frantic pace. Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps and John Witherspoon. Directed by Marcus Raboy. Written by Ice Cube. Produced by Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez. A New Line release. Comedy. Rated R for language, sexual content and drug use. Running time: 85 min

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