Friday After Next

Friday After Next is the third installment of the Friday series, and it looks like this franchise may be losing some steam. There are only so many jokes one can make about pot smoking buddies in da hood, and it appears that most have been made. The Friday movies are different in that they present a lighter-hearted version of the African-American experience, but Friday After Next stoops to the level of goofy. Most of the principals from Next Friday are back, and hopefully there will be no further sequels else the title will have to take on new verbal contortions. Now, Craig Jones (Ice Cube, Barbershop, All About the Benjamins) and his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps, All About the Benjamins, How High) are back in the inner city, living together and squeaking by.

It's Friday, Christmas Eve, and a man dressed as Santa is terrorizing the neighborhood. He breaks into Craig and Day-Day's apartment, stealing the rent money. Craig and Day-Day have one day to pay the rent, or else they will be evicted. Luckily, they have jobs lined up as strip mall security guards, so they'll figure out some way to get the money back. Their father's, Mr. Jones (John Witherspoon, Dr. Dolittle 2, Little Nicky) and Uncle Elroy (Don Curry, Two Degrees, Next Friday) got them the jobs, and own a BBQ place in the mall. And, there is a really hot chick (K. D. Aubert, The Scorpion King) who works at the new store owned by someone who acts and dresses like a pimp, and there is a huge ex-con after Craig and Day-Day. Somewhere in here, the Santa thief takes the time to strike again.

If the story feels thin, it is because it is. Ice Cube wrote the script, and is scraping for ideas. For most of the movie, he just seems bored. Bored with the material, and bored to be in the movie in the first place. There's not even that many pot jokes. Nothing really happens, and Friday After Next is less a movie and more an extended series of gags with the same characters. With little story, it focuses more attention on Epps, who quickly becomes grating on the nerves. It says a lot that Friday After Next feels long and yet does not hit ninety minutes. First-time director Marcus Raboy loses out, because while he may have the use of talented actors, they are all running on empty.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content, and drug use.

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