Review by Dustin Putman
½ star out of 4
Whatever merits the mysteriously popular "Friday" series might hold
is utterly lost upon me. 1995's "Friday" was nothing more than two
characters sitting around for 90 minutes smoking weed, and 2000's
"Next Friday" was the worst film of that respective year, a comedy
that somehow managed to not hold a single even mildly funny or witty
moment from beginning to end. "Friday After Next" (what's next? "The
Last Friday of the Month?") holds the distinction of not being quite
as bad as the insufferable "Next Friday," but it is still a cinematic
atrocity for which the term, "lowest-common-denominator," was invented for.
As with the previous outings, Ice Cube (2002's much smarter, much
funnier "Barbershop") stars in and has written the screenplay of this
latest outing, with first-time director Marcus Raboy taking over the
directorial reigns. There is no plot to speak of, only the slightest
hint of a narrative to push the characters forward. Set completely
on Christmas Eve in South Central, L.A., Craig Jones (Ice Cube) and
Day-Day (Mike Epps) are feuding, yet tight-knit brothers who are now
working as security guards at a trashy strip mall with such stores
as "Pimps and Ho's Fashions" and "Toys N the Hood." When they are
the latest victims of a string of burglaries being committed in the
area by a black man dressed in a Santa Claus suit, they make it their
goal to catch him before the day is out.
Aside from every character being presented as a shallow player or
whore, perhaps the most irritating thing about "Friday After Next,"
and the "Friday" series in general, is its complete laziness on the
writing level. There is nothing sharp, nothing smart, nothing observant,
and certainly nothing funny about the jokes on display. Ice Cube can
be a fine actor, and he has been in many respectable films, but somehow
his brain goes on autopilot every time he pens a "Friday" screenplay.
The jokes are all too obvious and slack and what passes for character
development is almost insulting in its stereotypical mindset.
Because of the money they continue to make, there must be an audience
that enjoys the "Friday" series, but I wouldn't be interested in knowing
any of them personally. The makers wrongfully portray the African-American
community to be nothing more than immature dimwits whose only interests
are in getting high and getting laid, and in the case of "Friday After
Next," set back the advancements of the homosexual population by at
least fifty years. It may be all in good fun, but no fun comes out of it.
At 85 minutes, "Friday After Next" is short but not sweet, and there
is but one strong laugh to be found (involving an "Extra Medium" tag
the Santa thief finds on a shirt he plans to steal). Mostly, though,
the film is a lugubrious, patience-testing slog through vacuous material
and without even a semblance of creative inspiration. The whole enterprise
would easily warrant questioning involving what the point of its existence
is, but the unlucky viewers sulking their way out of the theater afterwards
likely won't be able to muster up enough energy to even do that.
Copyright © 2002 Dustin Putman