In 1995, "Friday" went on to become a sleeper hit, with the $3.5m picture going on to gross a little over $27m. The film launched the movie career of Chris Tucker ("Rush Hour"), was the debut of director F. Gary Grey ("Negotiator") and kept Ice Cube's acting career rolling. The film was a raunchy, silly comedy that, nevertheless, managed to add a bit of a message in. 2000's "Next Friday" was more slapstick and essentially, a rehash of the first movie, only set in the 'burbs.
"Friday After Next", as one might expect, shows that the third time isn't always the charm. While not substancially worse than "Next Friday", "Friday After Next" still doesn't manage the fairly consistent laughs of the first sequel. Unlike the first two films, "Friday After Next" relies heavily on slapstick and far less on actually providing dialogue that's sharp, if raunchy. "Next Friday" was slapstick-heavy, too, but at least it constructed bits fairly well - "Friday After Next" throws everything at the wall and hopes that some of it sticks.
Cube returns as Craig Jones, now working as a mall security guard with cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps). As the picture opens, we find that they're behind on their rent and they've just been robbed by Santa Claus. That's about all there is to the plot, which has the two cousins trying to pull together enough cash and find their stolen presents.
Epps was introduced in "Next Friday" and went on to star in Cube's "All About the Benjamins". I've never found him funny before, and he's certainly no replacement for Chris Tucker. Still, he's decent here in a performance that's a bit less loud than the actor's previous two roles. Cube is as good playing off the absurdity of the situations as he was in the prior two "Friday"s. John Witherspoon's crazed delivery still works wonders with mediocre material.
"Friday After Next" zips along at 85 minutes, and it does offer some decent chuckles for those who know the kind of material the series offers. I didn't find any big laughs here, though, which was surprising given the Christmas angle sounded like it had potential.
VIDEO: "Friday After Next" is presented by New Line Home Entetainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As per usual, New Line has delivered a superb-looking presentation, with very few of the usual flaws. The fact that this film has a budget 6 times bigger than the first film also helps - this is clearly the best-looking of the three films. Sharpness and detail were fantastic, as the picture looked rock-solid and crystal clear throughout.
The only issue that I noticed with the image quality was that some minimal edge enhancement was present in a couple of scenes. Other than that, everything looked great - compression artifacts weren't seen, nor were any print flaws. The film's bright, well-saturated color palette looked great here, too. Colors appeared accurately rendered, with no smearing. Overall, yet another nice effort from New Line. A pan & scan version is available on the flip-side. The pan & scan presentation is offered on a single-layer side, while the anamorphic widescreen presentation is allowed to spread out on a dual-layer side.
SOUND: "Friday After Next" is presented by New Line Home Entertainment in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The film's soundtrack is generally front-heavy, and driven by the mixture of hip-hop soundtrack and Christmas-themed score. The surrounds do kick in on a couple of occasions for sound effects, but other than that, this is pretty much a "comedy" soundtrack. The film's dialogue remained clear and natural, while some bass is present under the hip-hop songs.
Commentaries: The DVD offers two full-length commentary tracks. The first commentary offers discussion from director Marcus Raboy, producer Matt Alverez and producer/writer/actor Ice Cube. The producer/director and Cube have been recorded separately. Cube's comments are somewhat a mixed bag - when he talks about working with the other actors, reacting to Epps' improvs and other production stories, he's interesting. Otherwise, he tends to occasionally just talk about what's going on in the movie at that point. The director and producer offer some interesting comments about trying to work with the material and some technical tidbits, such as the look of the movie. The other track is a fun commentary from actors Katt Williams, Anna Marie Horsford, Terry Crews, and K.D. Aubert. There's not a great deal of information in the actor's track, but everyone seems to be having a lot of fun.
Microphone Fiend: This 13-minute piece takes a look into the world of stand-up comedy, and how some of these comedians who've gone on to bigger things still keep coming back to the stage. This is a good featurette; although it starts off a little slowly, it gives a fine glimpse into the rewards and stress of stand-up.
It Was A Good Day: This 10-minute featurette looks at the world-wide popularity of the "Friday" series.
Ghetto Fabulous: This 6 1/2-minute featurette focuses on the film's costume design.
Pork Report: This 10-minute piece seems like something out of the Food Network - we learn about Pork preparation and other historical facts about BBQ. This departure from features about the movie is an example of why New Line's "Infinifilm" series is often so much fun.
Hump Day: This 17-minute piece is a general production overview. There's some promotional elements to it, but for the most part, the piece is a nice mixture of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
Holiday in the Hood: This 8 1/2-minute piece talks about the film's production design.
Also: A handful of deleted scenes that are rightly deleted, a 7-minute gag reel that's very funny, music video, teaser/theatrical trailers and DVD-ROM weblinks.
Infinifilm: As with the prior titles in the series, turning on the Infinifilm option allows for branching to other features during viewing of the film. There's also a subtitle fact track.
Final Thoughts: While funny here and there, the big laughs that could be found in the first one (and to a lesser extent, the second one) are absent here. New Line's DVD edition offers a lot of great supplements, superb video quality and fine audio. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary from the studio. Fans of the series who didn't check this one out in theaters may want to pick this one up, but others should try it as a rental first.