Volume 93, Issue 72

Tuesday, February 8, 2000


Sebastian Bach puts cock back into rawk

For the love of God, make it go

Next Friday a chronic disappointment

D'Angelo does Voodoo well

Next Friday a chronic disappointment

By Benj Nelson
Gazette Writer

There are only a select number of sequels which live up to their originals and Next Friday isn't one of them.

Although it contains remnants of its predecessor's wit, Ice Cube seems to be relying too much on social ingredients like women in skimpy clothing, weed and his own reputation to pull him through with this offering.

Unfortunately, neither the popularity of the previous film nor Ice Cube's brand name is enough to salvage this lacklustre effort.

Next Friday's lack of originality is the main reason it lacks appeal. While the jokes are funny in the first film, they are sadly replayed without explanation in this sequel.

The plot is also strikingly familiar to the original, the only difference being the location and the actors playing the roles. Apparently, partaking in the chronic doesn't make one as creative as you'd think.

The last Friday introduced Cube's modern tragi-hero Craig Jones to the big screen. Unemployed and constantly reminded of it by his dog-chasing father (John Witherspoon), Jones gets caught up trying to help his friend (and occasional dope-dealer) Smokey out of a debt incurred by smoking his merchandise away.

The duo are then pursued by Smokey's boss Debo and basically spend the rest of the film avoiding his wrath.

Next Friday takes aspects of Jones' hood life and translates them into a more suburban environment, applying the hackneyed fish-out-of-water premise. Craig is still unemployed, smoking more herb than ever and has moved to the suburbs to avoid Debo.

Instead of looking after Smokey, Craig is taking care of his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) and trying to help him raise money that his Uncle Elroy (Don Curry) owes to the government for tax evasion. Instead of getting beaten up, the Jones' stand to lose their house to the man.

Much of Friday's success was attributed to Chris Tucker's hilarious turn as Smokey, whose hyper-extended expressions and nasal voice served as an excellent complement to the dour, monotonous Cube. Unfortunately, the sequel is lacking the strong comedic presence left by Tucker's exit. Epps makes a valiant attempt to fill Smokey's role as Craig's sidekick, but doesn't quite fit the bill.

The film's only saving grace lies in the eccentricity of its characters, as Next Friday unveils the quirks of suburban life which often go unnoticed. Mrs. Ho Kym, a neighbour who used to run the flea market while living in South Central, adds some comic relief to the film with her ghetto lingo and mannerisms.

Uncle Elroy and his new wife Suga (Kym E. Whitley) also lighten the plot with their alternative outlook on a healthy sex life. Three drug dealing brothers, with the help of their pot loving dog, Chico, also add their own spin to the plot, utilizing predictable chiba-inspired sight gags and pratfalls.

Along with the returning cast members, these new additions make Next Friday a mediocre character driven comedy which probably won't go very far in the box office, but may acquire a chronic following of those in a somewhat altered state.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000