Friday After Next Reviews
By the point of Friday After Next, I know not to expect anything along the lines of Friday (1995). F. Gary Gray and Chris Tucker have nothing to do with the film and the genre is no longer a stoner comedy. The film is little more than an Ice Cube vehicle, this time as a buddy comedy against the backdrop of a Christmas setting. This sets the standard pretty low from the beginning and so viewers' expectations should be clear, and when Friday After Next lives up to them the result is as unsatisfying as you would expect.
The story follows Craig Jones after he moves back to The Hood, he ends up getting robbed on Christmas Eve, the day he begins his new job as a security guard at a strip mall. By the end of the film, everything is predictably resolved but the audience has hardly laughed enough to justify the experience.
Friday After Next is very much removed from the conventions established by Next Friday that it is even less like Friday, effectively minimizing the need to compare them. By comparison it is a superior film than Next Friday, but it is still far from entertaining. Like a series of meandering comedy sketches, Friday After Next unfolds a collection of directionless gags which are barely strung together by the loose narrative and a sense of repetition. The same basic jokes are repeated again and again in Friday After Next with a different context each time, and yet they are rarely funny in any way, shape or form. Occasionally the spirit of the actors can provide a mild spark here and there, but in the face of Friday After Next spending all of its time running in circles there is hardly much of a flame to contribute to.
Quintessentially, Friday After Next could not have less to do with Friday. It's a single comedy sketch stretched to feature length with an excess of reliance on generic racist stereotypes to keep viewers distracted. Gone is the dramatic undertones of the original film and any clever appeal that once popularized the series, anchoring the entire experience heavily in lifeless roots. From there, it attempts to harness the life in those roots with far too much ambition than the material can actually grasp. If it wasn't already clear by the point of Next Friday that the film didn't need a sequel and that there is minimal more creativity to harness in the Friday universe when there is no Smokey around to keep viewers laughing, then Friday After Next should be the final nail on the coffin since the writers had to get so removed from what the idea of Friday was to make this sequel. Nevertheless, it didn't stop them from maintaining the Friday name in a desperate attempt to bring over the fans still hoping for perhaps a meandering collection of laughs at the least. As a result, it is really difficult to respect anyone involved in the production of Friday After Next.
Yet most of the cast manage to put some spirit into Friday After Next somewhere along the way.
Ice Cube's natural charisma is once again the only thing that keeps this Friday sequel consistently watchable. There is hardly anything still iconic about the character Craig Jones since all the iconic comic traits and genuine meaning that he once maintained have been reduced to being Ice Cube's stereotypical persona with nothing special to offer. It's funny at times and his genuine energy is enjoyable, but there is a lack of specialty in it this time around. At least it seems like he has fun with the role, and since he managed to make some money off the film I can certainly applaud a well-financed career for an actor as talented as him.
However, Mike Epps returns to the same unlikable character he procured in Next Friday once again. In Friday After Next he is hardly as much of an annoying whiner, but he still relies on a relentless amount of repetition to carry him all the way to the end. Day-Day Jones is still the same wimpy excuse for a character, though he has less complaining to do this time around. Instead, he takes the job of a bodyguard alongside Craig Jones and uses a pretentious mimicry of ghetto attitude as the intended source of his comedy. It's more tolerable this time around, but it's hardly anything to be proud of.
On the lighter side. John Witherspoon's screen time is given a significant decrease in comparison to Next Friday which means that his gimmicks are not as overused, rendering him a funnier character this time around. The material is still too poor to let him do anything of much effective grace, but his cameo at least manage to carry some level of entertainment value which is one of the few things still relating to the originality of the first Friday.
The supporting performance by Terry Crews is one of the most entertaining aspects of Friday After Next. Considering the extent of success Terry Crews has achieved in his many films of recent years, it's enjoyable to look back and see him as a star in the making with his brief role in Friday After Next. Portraying a very heavily stereotypical character, Terry Crews diverts expectations with his moments of masculine homosexuality, including having him dancing in front of the television in his boxer shorts. The momentary sight of this is hilarious amid a collection of laugh-less gags. Terry Crews manages to stand out as one of the few funny things in Friday After Next.
Friday After Next's rare moments of comic appeal still attain a higher standard than its predecessor, but it nevertheless remains a repetitive and lacklustre comedy with so little relevance to the original Friday that it easily drifts into forgettable territory.
This is the third in Ice Cube's Friday franchise and one of my favorites. :-) Not only is it a funny druggy comedy and blacksploitation movie, but a cool Christmas movie too. Craig Jones (Cube) and his cousin Day Day (Mike Epps) have just had their apartment ripped off and have no rent money or Christmas presents. They are forced to work as security guards at the strip mall that their parents have a BBQ restaurant at. I love the slogan, "So good, it makes you wanna slap yo mama!"
Here, they meet all sorts of funny characters and get into some crazy situations. This is a movie worth seeing, if anything to get you in the Christmas spirit. :-)