Next Friday Movie Review

The problem with low-brow comedies is that at some point most of them have to stop being funny to resolve their plots.

This is certainly true of "Next Friday," Ice Cube's sequel to his 1995 sleeper hit about a strutting South Centralite who finally bests the neighborhood bully in a fisticuffs finale.

For its first hour, "Next Friday" is a seat-bouncing scream with a good, hard laugh almost every minute, as Craig (Ice Cube) is forced to flee to the suburbs when Debo the bully (stray-eyed Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.) escapes from the pokey and comes looking for him.

Craig's father (John Witherspoon) packs him off to hide out with his Lotto-winning Uncle Elroy (Don "DC" Curry) in his luxe, new, subdivision, cul de sac home. But these 'burbs don't seem much safer than his own neighborhood, what with the gang of recently sprung, trouble-making vatos two doors down and his cousin's pregnant, psycho ex-girlfriend coming around, throwing bricks through car windows. What's worse, cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) has turned into a woosy. He'd rather hide from the neighbors and the girl.

Ice Cube wrote the script for "Next Friday" (he co-wrote the original) and front-loaded it with laughs. The uncle's little old lady next door neighbor (Amy Hill) talks street smack and steals scenes dissing the pouty Day-Day. Craig's new aunt (Kym E. Whitley) -- think Jackee with a bad dye job -- spends the movie trying to get her tongue town her nephew's throat. The leader of the cul de sac's mini Latino gang wears his knit cap so low on his head it can't see. Just about everything is funny at first, even the old-fashioned gags he beats to death (smoking marijuana is the source of about a third of the comedy and dad's first-reel fall in dog do becomes a smelly running joke).

But the story itself nothing but a string of weak sitcom set-ups, sloppily introduced, like when a delivery boy shows up with a foreclosure notice on uncle's nice new digs. Solution: Steal money from the vatos.

Cube hardly uses one of the movie's best assets -- "Tiny" Lister -- who spends most of the movie riding hiding in the back of Criag's dad's truck waiting for his chance to get even. Plus his disdain for women, while not a central theme like it is in other genre losers like "Booty Call," really brings the movie down. Cube and first-time director Steve Carr don't have much use for females unless they're "bitches with big titties."

If "Next Friday" kept its comedy pace, it might have been easier to overlook such things -- the lack of story is forgivable while the guffaws keep coming. But the movie loses so much steam in the last 30 minutes -- busying itself with plot resolution -- that the laugh ratio slows to maybe one snicker per scene.

I admit I had a good time at "Next Friday." All I'm saying is, don't pay more than matinee price for the privilege.


Next Friday Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, Opened: Wednesday, January 12, 2000


More Ice Cube

The Book Of Life Trailer

Manolo has a lot of pressure forced upon him from his family regarding his future, but all he wants to do is marry the woman...

Everything We Know So Far About ‘Straight Outta Compton’ The N.W.A. Biopic

The story of influential rap group N.W.A. is getting the Hollywood treatment, with biopic Straight Outta Compton about to begin production. With the main cast...

What Was Universal Thinking with 'Straight Outta Compton' Casting Call?

Universal has apologized after an agency working on its behalf issued an offensive casting call for the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, asking for woman...

Get On Up Trailer

The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and Octavia Spencer, talk about the legendary musician alongside artists...


NWA Biopic Straight Outta Compton Gets a Release Date

The NWA biopic, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, has a release date and a first-look picture courtesy of the collective’s most successful solo breakout artist, Dr Dre....

Channing Tatum Gets Handcuffed At The New York Premiere Of '22 Jump Street'

'22 Jump Street' stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum entertained fans at the movie's New York premiere by posing alongside two real life police officers...

22 Jump Street Movie Review

A consistently hilarious stream of in-jokes keeps the audience in fits of laughter even if there's virtually no plot to this follow-up to the 2012...

Book Of Life Trailer

In Mexico, two best friends Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) fall in love with the same girl, Maria (Zoe Saldana and so both...