After writing and starring in the funny homeboys-and-hemp comedies "Friday" and "Next Friday," rapper-actor Ice Cube isn't quite out of ripe screwball ideas, but "Friday After Next" spreads them pretty thin. In fact, the "Pink Panther"-styled cartoon opening credits are the biggest laugh in the movie.

Story proper begins with slapstick cousins Craig (Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) back in Compton after spending the last film in the suburbs. Desperate for rent money after a "ghetto Santa" breaks into their apartment at Christmas time, swiping presents and cash, the guys take seasonal security jobs at a dilapidated strip mall where their grumpy, squabbling dads (John Witherspoon and Don "D.C." Curry) have a barbecue joint.

Armed with nothing but a second-hand uniform and a whistle, thickwit Day-Day thinks he's suddenly a supercop, rousting church-lady carolers for loitering, but running away from gangbangers when he rubs them the wrong way. Meanwhile Craig has his eye on a drop-dead gorgeous salesgirl (K.D. Aubert) at the strip's new clothing outlet, Pimps & Hos. (Other stores include Holy Moly Donuts, check cashing, liquor and 94-cent stores, and Toyz in the Hood.)

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