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Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Retro Review: Friday After Next (2002)

Friday After Next
Cast: Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Terry Crews, John Witherspoon, Katt Williams, Rickey Smiley 
Genre: Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $33 million

Plot: Two cousins work nights at a local mall as security guards. When their house is robbed on Christmas Eve, they team up to track the robber down 

'Mean-Spirited Ness & Cursing Ruins This Film'

Friday After Next sees the main characters of the previous entry, Craig and Day-Day, two cousins who share an apartment and of whom both landed jobs as security guards for a local shopping centre (or as known as a mall in the U.S). They find themselves in hot water as they try and come up with the rent money - which, by the way, a robber posing as a fake Santa Claus had stolen from them by breaking into their house during Christmas Eve- to pay the landlord from hell - otherwise, she'll send her son, Damon over to 'deal with them', as well as getting them evicted. 

The third instalment of the Friday trilogy is so far removed from the first movie; the tone especially veers down the anarchic and low-brow & lowest common denominator, and still, it didn't have me chuckling or laughing out loud as much as I wanted it to.  

The film doesn't have a strong sense of focus, there just wasn't that extra something to make me care for it, there was no strong build-up, whilst the comedy was mostly flat. The story was stale, there was very little physical comedy, whilst laughs were generated through cursing and dialogue - most of which was tasteless. The humour is very low brow in nature, which I don't mind, but there was too much swearing that diluted it further. There were also too many characters: most of whom lack sufficient personality and backstories for us to care about and they seem throwaway, as they go through an array of emotions. The unmasking of the fake Santa, himself, just didn't appear to be plausible enough for me to buy into, whereas the ass-raping of Damon of Kat Williams' character wasn't that amusing and thus, played on the Black guy criminal who is also a homosexual trope/stereotype. Additionally, Mike Epps' character seems to have regressed from the last film; he seemed more clueless, careless and a tad more obnoxious. 

Friday After Next was so padded and filled with substories that seem to drag out. Despite all this, it wasn't completely unwatchable from start to finish; rather there was some stuff they could have easily cut out and the story ought to have been funnier, sharper and far more entertaining. I admit I did smile in parts, but besides that, almost everything about this entry seems watered down, regurgitated, there just wasn't enough here that was not only new, fresh and different but had worked to the film's advantage. 

Final Verdict:

Whilst it wasn't on the same wavelength as Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, the first Friday movie, showed potential and promise, along with surprising charm and wit in places, as well as in terms of the direction that future instalments could head into; sadly, the weak comedy, lack of characterisation throughout and mean-spirited feel for a so-called Christmas film in Friday After Next, that is supposed to evoke the festive spirit, dampens the overall mood. 


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