“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature
was stirring…except for a skinny, drunk-ass, rundown Ghetto Santa boostin’ everybody’s holiday stash!” So begins yet another Friday for Ice Cube’s no-luck Craig Jones and his all-too-familiar gaggle of ‘hood rat caricatures, made infamous in the first two installments of this curiously popular franchise. When last we left Craig, he had moved on up to Beverly Hills to share in his family’s newfound wealth (translation: they done won the lottery). But that was then and this is now. The family fortune is gone and everybody’s working at the mall back in the ghetto—the only place, Craig says, “where you can get robbed by Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.” Not only robbed, it seems, but also where you can get a beat-down with your own Christmas tree, have hapless L.A. police smoke up your marijuana plant and have your Christmas party turn into a rent party. Yep, it must be another Friday in the ‘hood! Without Chris Tucker and Tiny Lister around to reprise their original and pivotal humorous roles, first-time director Marcus Raboy relies on a comely crew of comedic talents to bring on the laughs, namely Mike Epps’s slow-on-the-uptake Day-Day, John Witherspoon’s intestinally-challenged Pop and new addition Katt Micah Williams in a scene-stealing/star-making turn as the diminutive Prince-like wannabe pimp Money Mike. Though largely predictable (Pop is on the toilet, Craig is lighting up a joint, the cops are idiots) the mildly funny moments in the film succeed for the most part. Even though the pot smoking has been considerably reduced this time around, and while the film follows a similar formula more inventively established in the classic ‘70s ghetto film Carwash, Friday After Next makes for a not-completely-unbearable way to spend an hour and 25 minutes. There remains a viable audience for this brand of retread humor. As long as Ice Cube keeps it real and fresh (and maintains his youthful appearance—damn, he doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since last Friday!), we can all probably look forward to Yet Another Friday to come after this one, and the next one, or last one, or the one before and after that one as well.
What can be said about the audio and video quality of a New Line Infinifilm title that hasn't been said already? Friday After Next is made available here in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 4:3 version on the second side. Colors are surprisingly vibrant and contrast is impeccable. There's very little difference between the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks though the sonic experience is perhaps a tad more expansive on the latter.
If not necessarily made for the DVD edition of the film, the content included on this Infinifilm title still feels original. The disc's supplemental materials have been divided into two sections, "Beyond the Movie" and "All Access Pass." Of the four featurettes included under "Beyond the Movie," most notable is "Microphone Fiend," a 13-minute chronicle of black men who've performed at the Gotham Comedy Club. "On a Good Day" serves as a nice recap for non-fans of (or anyone unfamiliar with) the Friday series while "Ghetto Fabulous" and "Pork Report" are just plain surreal. Under "All Access Pass" you'll find two audio commentaries: the cast commentary provides the laughs but the second track (featuring director Marcus Reboy, producer Matt Alvarez and Ice Cube) offers all the insights. "Hype Day" is yet another making-of documentary lazily culled from press junket footage while "Holiday in the Hood" offers a lively glimpse at the films' production design. Also available is a genuinely humorous gag reel, a series of deleted scenes, an extended ending, Westside Connection's "It's the Holidaze" music video and the film's teaser and theatrical trailer.
Great DVD treatment for a mediocre entry in the Friday franchise. The hearty amount of features, though, will keep die-hard fans occupied until two Fridays from now.