By Justin Lee
Hollywood hasn’t exactly had the greatest success with sequels, particularly in the comedy genre. The majority of comedic sequels strive to one-up the original by trying to create a bigger, better and funnier version of its predecessor. However, many times the end result is an over-the-top, pathetic attempt to suck in fans of the original film.
Enter Next Friday, the sequel to 1995’s sleeper hit Friday, which launched the career of comic Chris Tucker. Set four years after Friday, Next Friday sees Craig (Ice Cube) still living at home with his parents in South Central, Los Angeles without a job.
Four years ago, Craig defeated the neighborhood bully known as Debo. After hearing news on Debo’s (Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.) prison escape, Craig’s father (John Witherspoon) sends him to live with his uncle Elroy (Don "DC" Curry) and cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps), in fear of his son’s safety.
The film shows Craig’s adjustment from the harsh, brutal realities of the hood to the "plush, luxiourous" life of the suburbs, where recent lottery winners, Uncle Elroy and Day-Day have moved. However, as Craig and his family soon find out, the suburbs are, in fact, more dangerous than the ‘hood. Outrageous!
The problem with Next Friday, is the absence of the key players of the first film. Director F. Gary Gray is replaced by Steve Carr, another graduate in a long line of music video directors which is clearly evident by the glossy, highly polished feel of Next Friday.
While the first Friday was co-written by DJ Pooh and Ice Cube, Next Friday was written entirely by Ice Cube and it definitely shows. The characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, from the thugged-out Latino hustler to the chronic-tokin’ skater. Mike Epps (Day-Day) is about as funny, as a case of testicular cancer, proving that no one can really replace the off-the-wall, comedic antics of Chris Tucker.
Next Friday takes desperate measures in trying to get a chuckle out of its audience, resorting to more toilet jokes than the whole Police Academy series put together.
If that kind of thing is what you look for in a comedy, then you are probably more than willing to drop $8.50 for Next Friday.