|Fans of the "Friday" series won't be disappointed with this sequel, as its eighty-some-odd minutes are edited together into a frenetically paced story with enough comedic antics by Ice Cube and Mike Epps to keep fans entertained. But notice the word used was fans. Because Friday After Next takes for granted that its viewers will already know the relationships between these characters and the reasons behind their actions. Which shouldn't be too much of a problem since the plot and these characters' relationships have nothing to do with anything that occurs in the movie.|
Indeed, Friday After Next might be one of the best examples to date of a film that relies absolutely and completely on its jokes alone, seeking to throw out the window any sort of plot or coherent story. It might be worth noting that most of the time, the jokes are funny enough to cover up that small detail. But the canvas of humor on this film was definitely created for the series' fans and is quite thin in any case. Unfortunately, the whole film comes off as looking much more inept that it should. One of the base reasons why this film seems to fall apart is that none of its characters (the supporting ones anyway) is likeable.
There are just too many slaps, punches, and insults thrown around by the family to really endear them to the audience. Itís doubtful that was the intention of the filmmakers in any case, but the fact that there is really no base for these characters to stand on makes for a very weak hour and a half. Of course, it's actually less than eighty minutes (sans end credits) that the audience will get to see these characters on the screen. That's probably a good thing, considering that the characters would probably start to grate on even the most ardent fan's nerves after more than ninety minutes.
And the fact that Chris Tucker wasn't in this sequel either also puts more pressure on the rest of the cast, considering that Tucker made the original film a lot more entertaining that it might have been. But the array of supporting characters in this film is, by an large, an entertaining lot of people. Katt Williams in particular really milks his "midget pimp" character for all it's worth. Though half of the value of his character comes from the clothes he wears, the addition of his voice and style of delivery make for one of the most rounded characters of the film.
That idea, that a character should have depth and feeling, shouldn't have been ignored by the screenwriters, because they could have used this film as an opportunity to branch out to a wider audience. Without the effort placed into the story (there really is a severe lack of one), the slapstick comedy is the only glue holding the picture together. The film could have picked up some viewers outside its "fan base" and given the producers more reason to make a fourth movie (which they'll probably do anyway).
The fact that the plot only factors marginally into the reasons for these character's actions almost becomes a joke in and of itself, after some post script dialogue voiced by Ice Cube right before the credits, where he explains what the various characters "did next." The funny thing about the speech is that viewers probably won't really care about what happens to these characters after the credits start rolling. The fact that the two main characters have their rent money stolen by a mask-wearing Santa is a good place to start the film. But by the end of the picture, whether or not the roommates have their rent paid really doesn't matter. If the screenplay had depended a little more on character motivation and story.....
But perhaps it is futile to speak about such advanced topics as story and character in a review for a film that was so obviously created just for laughs. And by and large, the jokes will get laughs from audience member looking to kill a few brain cells. That this film doesn't have the added benefit of a coherent story might only bother people who aren't avid fans of the series or its stars. In point of fact, this movie might be worth two different ratings. For fans of Ice Cube and the cast, and the Friday series in general, the movie would probably warrant three stars. It's worth seeing on the big screen if you already know what you're going to get. But for new viewers and people looking for substance, tread cautiously into the theater for this one, as the phrase, "leave your brain at the door," is definitely relevant here.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.