Let me make one thing clear before I proceed. I loved the original Friday. The inner city setting gave such a rich backdrop to a wonderful ensemble of interesting and colorful characters. The interactions of these characters let the film breathe life back into the territory previously covered by the Hughes Brothers and John Singleton, and then ridiculed by the Wayans Clan. The film also introduced the directing debut of F. Gary Gray and the acting debut of Chris Tucker. Ice Cube, one of the original writers and producers of Friday, tries to recapture the innocence and originality of the previous film but ends up failing by not producing the same even-flow of character interaction and storyline so prevalent in the original.
I like Ice Cube. He holds responsibilities as music and film producer, a musician, and a screenwriter and director under his belt. He is politically outspoken and waves a mighty fist at the establishment. I enjoy his acting and his music and even found Players Club to be a well-done piece of filmmaking. But Next Friday only highlights his acting abilities and not his writing talent, which he is credited for with the screenplay of the film.
The first forty or so minutes of the film try to capture the fun and honesty of the original and succeed in producing some memorable moments. But the second half of the film changes gears and becomes some serious drama with guns waving and a dog high off pot brownies. The second half pulls the film down under the gravity of certain situations and the audience is left feeling somewhat confused by what attitude should be towards the actions of Cube and Co. I mean, is Cube trying to say that breaking into a drug dealer's house and committing a robbery is a good thing?
The main problem with the film is the sidekick of Cube, played by Mark Epps. His character Day-Day is introduced as a bumbling big-talker but ends up being a whining sissy who finds enjoy being harassed by a pregnant ex-girlfriend and her large sister, Baby D. The subplots of an old nemesis from the original, played by Tom "Tiny" Lister (Zeus to all of us old WWF fans), and a bumbling romance between Cube and a next-door neighbor woman are pointless and trite.
If you are a fan of the original Friday, wait for the video of this latest installment in this series. Let's just hope there's not Another Friday in the works as I write this. [Doh!]
Run time: 98 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 12th January 2000
Box Office Worldwide: $59.8M
Distributed by: New Line Home Entertainment
Production compaines: New Line Cinema
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 51
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Steven Carr
Screenwriter: Ice Cube
Starring: Ice Cube as Craig Jones, Mike Epps as Day-Day, Justin Pierce as Roach, John Witherspoon as Mr. Jones, Don Curry as Uncle Elroy, Jacob Vargas as Joker, Lobo Sebastian as Lil Joker, Rolando Molina as Baby Joker, Lisa Rodríguez as Karla, Tommy Lister as Debo, Kym Whitley as Suga, Amy Hill as Mrs. Ho-Kym, Tamala Jones as D'wana, The Lady of Rage as Baby D', Clifton Powell as Pinky, Kirk Jones as Tyrone, Michael Rapaport as Mailman with Tax Notice
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