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Friday After Next

Friday, November 22, 2002

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

If you're going to see only one Ice Cube movie this year, make it "Barbershop" and not "Friday After Next."

 
 
Movie Review

Friday After Next

RATING: R for language, sexual content, drug use.
STARRING: Ice Cube, Mike Epps.
DIRECTOR: Marcus Raboy.

   
 

It's a slapdash, slapstick-heavy comedy that tries to wring one last dollar -- or, technically, a couple of million dollars -- out of the "Friday" franchise that started in 1995 and continued in 2000. It looks like it was done on the cheap and expects you to laugh at a bit about Bros. Bar-B-Q with its slogan that it tastes so good "makes you wanna slap your mamma" -- followed by the crack across the face. The restaurant is in the same raggedy strip mall as a clothing store called Pimps and Hos.

Three words: Society. Hell. Handbasket. You connect the dots.

It's Christmas Eve and Craig (Ice Cube) and his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) are sharing an apartment, about to start jobs as security guards at the above-mentioned shopping center and, as the movie opens, being burglarized by a ghetto Santa. During the course of the day, the pair try to find Santa, smoke some marijuana, woo women and make enough money to pay their rent so their nasty apartment manager won't evict them.

Along the way they encounter the usual colorful cast of characters, from their squabbling fathers to a well-muscled man fresh from 12 years in prison and Money Mike, the flashy owner of Pimps and Hos who catches the ex-con's eye. It's noisy, lowbrow stuff -- watch Santa run into a closed window. See a dog bite a snooping intruder's butt. Witness what happens when vise grips are applied to a man's crotch.

I found virtually none of it funny but some members of a preview audience were howling. The idea that Ice Cube dared to include politically incorrect barbershop banter in his other 2002 movie is nowhere near as offensive as the belief that this is what urban audiences want or deserve.

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