December 10, 2011

Eyes on Christmas: Friday After Next

While I have certainly subjected myself to some lousy movies. On the plus side, I like the fact that my broad idea for the Christmas movie with regards to this marathon has brought me a rather wide variety of films so far in just the first week. This latest entry is the third film in a series and the first one to be centered around the holidays. It is not really a Christmas movie in the strictest sense, it is more just the setting for them to string their comedic bits along. It is far from a great film, but it is the second best in the run which probably should have stopped after the first.

The movie is none other than Friday After Next. The original Friday was a really funny movie with Ice Cube as the recently out of work Craig and Chris Tucker as his pot smoking pal Smokey. The movie follows them as Smokey's problems catch up to them and they have to comedically extricate themselves from their predicament. A few years later, in Next Friday, we catch Craig when he moves in with his cousin, Day Day (Mike Epps), to try and save his uncle's home. It was not all that funny, but there it was. Then, in 2002, a third film arrived and that brings us to Friday After Next.

This Friday happens to be a Christmas Eve and there is a guy dressed in a mask and Santa suit going around stealing Christmas presents. As the movie started, the fake Santa breaks into Craig and Day Day's apartment and starts to clean them out. He is caught mid robbery by Craig who attempts to beat him down, but fails to stop him. Now we have our set up, the cousins' rent money is gone and they have a day to pay up.

They dress and head down to the job Craig's uncle was able to get for them, as security guards for a strip mall. This is just the start of what is going to be a long day for the duo. Besides having had their stuff stolen, they are supposed to be throwing a party that night, but the place is a mess. They also have to deal with Damon (Terry Crews), a stand in for Deebo from the original, a muscle head just out of prison. They have a variety of run ins with people around the strip mall. Nothing seems to be going right for these guys, but in the spirit of the season, Craig is able to get everything sorted out by day's end.

Friday After Next is not without laughs, but it is much more a series of vulgarity laced skits and scenes than a movie with actual heart and character, which the first film was, believe it or not. Still, there is something about Ice Cube and his easily charismatic onscreen presence. He helps make this movie a mostly cheery experience. This easily could have been mean spirited and cynical, but it never goes that route. This is a movie about guys who just want to be left alone and have some fun. Mike Epps has some funny moments, but is no replacement for Smokey from the original.

The supporting cast is littered with familiar faces and laughs. There is the pairing of John Witherspoon and his curious affectations and Don Curry as the fathers of the main two, they are just flat out funny. Katt Williams as the pimp Money Mike is hilarious, although his bit with Terry Crews and the vise grips goes on a touch long.

Overall, this movie does not really do a whole lot to get me in the Christmas spirit, but it is funny, set during the holiday, and is mostly upbeat so it is hard to say no to it.

Mildly Recommended.

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