Friday After Next (November 22/02)
Here's a series that's just getting progressively worse and worse.
The original Friday was entertaining enough, but didn't really warrant a sequel. It was mildly successful, so (of course) a sequel was commissioned. Next Friday made the fatal error of taking the action out of the 'hood, a problem that's been corrected with Friday After Next. But as tends to be the case with comedy sequels, this one's more cartoonish than anything else and abandons the dialogue-heavy structure that made the first one enjoyable.
Ice Cube returns as Craig, while Mike Epps is back as his cousin Day-Day. The two are now living together in a reasonably nice apartment, but are in danger of being evicted unless they can come up with a certain amount of cash by nightfall. As luck would have it, Craig's father (John Witherspoon, inexplicably back again) has just opened a barbeque joint in a plaza that's in need of a couple of security guards. The job seems easy enough - Craig and Day-Day are provided a booth where they can keep an eye on things - but Day-Day's hot temper ensures that this particular Friday will be anything but easy.
Friday After Next has the dubious task of following two movies that weren't all that great to begin with. To be fair, the first Friday did have a certain amount of charm - mostly due to the chemistry between Cube and Chris Tucker. The majority of that film consisted of the two hanging out and commenting on a variety of subjects. Here, Cube (the sole screenwriter) presumably has run out of things to say, relying instead on a multitude of wacky subplots to stretch out the running time. But the problem is none of this stuff is funny; it's just lame. A character that's worthy of scorn because he dresses like Prince? Oh, hilarious. A gigantic bully who's just completed a lengthy prison term and is now attracted to guys? I'll try to contain my laughter.
Now that Cube's turned the Friday series into a trilogy, let's hope he's satisfied enough to leave it at that.