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Next Friday

Next Friday

What She said:

She

The year 2000 brought us many things—Y2K frenzy, my Chevy Cavalier, and the film Next Friday, a sequel to the 1995 comedy.  Though not quite as funny as its predecessor, and missing the charm of actor Chris Tucker, Next Friday stands up as a relatively humorous and painless film serving an obvious niche role in the movie industry.  It’s crude, misogynistic, and relatively racist—but it’s also satirical and funny. 

As the film opens, we rejoin protagonist Craig four years after his infamous fight with Deebo.  Deebo is now in jail, but rumor has it that he’s about to break-out and come looking for Craig.  Craig’s parents don’t like what they’re hearing, and so they send Craig out to the suburbs to stay with his Uncle Elroy and cousin Day-Day.  But drama seems to follow Craig, and he quickly becomes wrapped up in some bad stuff, including some scary Mexican neighbors, the Jokers, and their ferocious dog.  What’s different in this film is that Craig is not really an innocent bystander this time.  Since Friday he’s become a major pot-head who doesn’t hold down a job and is more than happy to use criminal means to get what he wants.

During his time with Ungle Elroy and Day-Day, Craig manages to get swept up with hostilities between Day-Day and his crazy ex-girlfriend, get in a knock-down fight with Day-Day’s boss, Pinky (which results in Day-Day’s being fired), and royally p’s off the Jokers after pursuing their sister Karla.  And, of course, Deebo shows up before the end of the movie to unleash his own breed of wrath on Craig.  It’s 98 minutes of chaos and shenanigans.

This film wastes no time picking up where Friday left off.  It uses many of the same jokes (e.g., “35, 45 minutes”), although they’re not quite as fresh in this film.  Whereas Friday sort of sat back and let things happen, Next Friday is much less observational.  I’m not sure this wholly works, considering this is a stoner film that’s benefits from being chill.  Just like with the first movie, Next Friday is filled with racial stereo types meant to be satirical but actually somewhat offensive.  The characters are larger-than-life, and narrowly defined by their ethnic backgrounds.  While it’s funny, it’s also pretty unethical. 

Next Friday

Aside from being a movie driven by the use of pot, it’s also highly sexualized.  Craig’s aunt and uncle are total freaks, and it’s shockingly uncomfortable and gross.  There were a lot of moments in this film where I simply stated, “That’s disgusting,” and averted my eyes.  And we’re not talking about nudity or anything of that magnitude.  It’s just the ideas that grossed me out. 

Some critics blast this film for its crudeness with the fart and poop gags.  My immaturity did not mind those elements at all.  It certainly wasn’t the worst gross-out humor I’d ever seen.  It was other aspects of the film that bothered me, and its general silliness overall.  I think the movie got a little tedious part-way through, as scenes began to drag on slightly and lost their funniness.  With the addition of Chris Tucker, this could have been a different film.  Certainly, he could have worked wonders to fill the gap.

It’s an OK comedy with plenty of funny moments, but it’s also hard to look past Next Friday’s offensiveness and dependence on stereotypes.  It certainly would do its job on a Saturday night, hanging out with friends, particularly if one is of college age.  But overall, this movie may not appeal to a large segment of the population.

Thumbs half up.

Next Friday

What He said:

He
Next Friday

Smokey (Chris Tucker) is in rehab, Deebo (Tommy “Tiny” Lister) is in prison, and Craig (Ice Cube) still doesn’t have a job. But it’s a Friday and in in the Friday universe, that means something whacky is about to go down.

Rumor has it that Deebo is about to break out and he’s coming for Craig. He wants revenge for their encounter in the previous movie. Craig’s parents fear for his safety, so they decide to send him to his Aunt and Uncle’s in the burbs – à la The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – until things cool off. Little does Craig know that things can get pretty crazy in the burbs too, especially a place like Rancho Cucamonga.

Craig is going to stay with his dad’s brother Elroy (Don “D.C.” Curry), cousin Day-Day, and “Auntie” Suga. Uncle Elroy hit the lottery about a year or so ago and got out of the ghetto for the peace and quiet is of the suburbs (Rancho Cucamonga is a dump, but more on that later). Day-Day is his man-child son. He (Mike Epps) has a job, which is more than can be said for Craig, but he’s a tad whiny and gets bullied by his ex-girlfriend and her brute of a sister. His “Aunt” is Elroy’s new wife – his first wife died from shock when they hit the lottery – and this lady is a freak! She’s into all kinds of kinky shit and every time Elroy turns his back, she puts the moves on Craig.

Next Friday

Even when things look good, there’s more than meets the eye. One of Elroy’s neighbors is a young woman named Karla (Lisa Rodriguez). She catches Craig’s attention and Craig catches hers too. The only problem is her brothers: Joker, Lil’ Joker, and Baby Joker. They have been recently released from prison and resumed their criminal activities almost as soon as they got home.

Oh yeah, and Deebo has actually broken out of prison and is aware of Craig’s new living situation. As soon as he finds out where he is, he immediately hatches a plan to get his revenge.

So, before Craig can even settle in he has to fend off unwanted advances from his step-Aunt, avoid confrontation with Day-Day’s girlfriend and her sister (female version of Deebo), avoid the Joker brothers, and deal with Deebo when he shows up.

Craig’s dad (John Witherspoon) gets wind of Craig’s situation and decides to come to the rescue.

The most obvious thing missing from this movie is Chris Tucker. He was fantastic in Friday and his presence was sorely missed. I would have loved to have seen Smokey make the trek to the burbs with Craig, but from what I remember Chris Tucker didn't want to do the movie. Mike Epps was actually an adequate sidekick for Craig, but Chris Tucker was simply funnier in that role. He offers plenty of laughs, just not as much as Tucker’s Smokey.

Next Friday

Luckily the movie still has a great cast of supporter characters, just like the original. John Witherspoon is absolutely hilarious. Craig’s dad is such a goofball, you can’t help and love the guy. I laugh whenever I see him on screen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything else, so I can’t comment on the guy’s career, but he owns this role. I laugh hysterically just when I see him. When he starts talking or doing some of the whacky stuff, I lose it. His rivalry with his brother Elroy is also a good source of amusement. Don Curry is great as Elroy too. You can take the man out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the man. Imagine a guy who had nothing, won a ton of money and moved to the burbs, and suddenly fancies himself as more cultured; but hasn’t changed an ounce. There’s a slew of other background characters that are funny too. There’s Pinky, the other of the record store, Roach, Day-Day’s coworker and buddy, and the Chinese lady next store who thinks she one of the homeboys.

This movie is not as good as the first one, but it’s still pretty damn funny, and a hell of a lot better than The Friday After Next. I won’t even bother reviewing that movie. I saw it once and that was enough.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on April 13, 2014.  

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