I still consider the original "Friday" one of the funniest comedies to come out of Hollywood in recent years. Spawning the career of Chris Tucker("Rush Hour"), the film offered some moments that were roll-on-the-floor funny and good performances.
When "Next Friday" came out, people wondered if the comedy of the first film would still exist with Tucker not coming back for the sequel. I thought this film was still pretty funny, offering some hilarious moments and another good performance from Ice Cube. The film continues where the first part left off; Craig(Cube) has beaten the neighborhood bully, only to have him break out of jail in this the opening moments of "Next". Fearing for his son, Craig's dad(the incredibly funny John Witherspoon) sends him to live in suburbia with his cousins.
It's silly and occasionally too goofy for it's own good, but like the first "Friday", this sequel has a sort of relaxed charm that keeps the laughs going. Cube's performance is very good, and the writing is silly but provides for frequent laughs. It's unfortunate that Tucker didn't come back for this sequel, but it still does fairly well without him.
VIDEO: This is an excellent transfer from New Line, and just another in their line of fantastic efforts. There's a few very minor flaws, but they're overshadowed by an otherwise great looking image. Sharpness is perfect, and detail is very good as well. Colors are almost impressively bright and lively, with well-saturated and rich colors that really are vibrant. Flesh tones are natural, as well.
There are a couple of tiny traces of pixelation and shimmering, but other than that, there's nothing to complain about in what's otherwise a fine transfer. The print used is crystal clear as well, with no marks to be found. Very good work.
SOUND: "Next Friday" is really a dialogue-driven movie, with the main focus being the conversations between the characters. The music sounds dynamic and rich, but that's really the only element that opens up the audio. Surround use is occasional, but pretty minimal. Still, an enjoyable effort that gets the job done well. Dialogue remains clear and easily understood.
MENUS:: Possibly the most hilarious menus that New Line or anyone else has ever come up with, the menus for "Next Friday" open up with an "infomerical" clip about the suburbs, then open up with the main menu, which is a map with different selections offered. There's great animation and additional features when you make a selection from the main menu. A lot of work went into these menus and they're excellent.
EXTRAS: New Line has done a fine job packing this disc full of extras.
Commentary: This is a commentary track from director Steve Carr and actor Ice Cube, who starts the film off talking about what the differences were between the first "Friday" and the sequel, as well as a discussion about how audiences found the first film and what happened with the sequel.
With the opening of the commentary, don't worry that something's wrong; it employs the technique of scratching the comments like a record a couple times, which is kinda fun. The comments from both Ice Cube and director Carr sound like they are recorded separately and edited together, but both make for an interesting discussion, talking about the actors and just what makes for humor.
The two also point out performances and the history behind some of the actors in the film. The two also have some very funny stories to share from the set on various problems that turned up during the filming. There's only a few small pauses here and there between comments, but the majority of the commentary is filled with the two sharing their viewpoints on the story and the production in general. It's a good commentary, and it's obvious that the actors had fun filmming the movie.
Trailers: The "R" and "G" Rated trailers for "Next Friday". Trailers for "Players Club", "Dangerous Ground" and "Friday" can be found under Ice Cube's bio.
Alternate Ending: A short alternate ending can be viewed.
Audition Tape: Viewers can watch the audition tape for actor Mike Epps.
Music Videos: "You Can Do It" from Ice Cube and "Money Stretch" from Lil Zone.
Gag Reel: About 4 1/2 minutes worth of some extremely funny goofs.
Real-Time Storyboards: Now here's a really cool option! Viewers can choose to watch the film with storyboards for the scene in the bottom right hand corner of the film throughout the running time.
Behind The Scenes: Here, we get interviews with Ice Cube and a number of other members of the cast and crew, who talk about stories from this film and the differences between the original and the sequel. Pretty "promotional" in nature, but I liked the footage of the cast and crew filming.
Also: A small photo gallery, cast and crew bios, web links.
Final Thoughts: New Line has done an excellent job with this Platinum Series title; there are some great extras like the commentary and the storyboard option. Audio/video quality is good, and the movie definitely provides a few laughs. A very good disc.