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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It may be crude, it may be lewd, it's certainly slapdash and stupid, but the steadily and readily hilarious "Soul Plane" stays in the air on nothing but a jet-powered fuel of out-loud laughs from very lowbrow comedy.
The flick takes place onboard the maiden flight of NWA, the first black-owned airline, started by an obnoxious layabout (the forgettable Kevin Hart) who trots out a sob story and wins an excessive $100 million award in a lawsuit against another air carrier after getting stuck in 747 toilet. (Well, that and a luggage compartment depressurized in flight, sucking his checked dog into an engine.)
It's a plotless premise on which to hang a string of largely unrelated gags, but with such a traffic jam of ribald cultural raillery, the movie actually is at its worst when newbie director Jessy Terrero tries to shoehorn in an off-the-shelf romantic subplot between the jokes.
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