This third in Ice Cube's Friday series has something to offend everyone, with highly politically incorrect jokes in just about every category. On the other hand, it is better than the last one, and at the screening I attended, the audience loved it. I'll even admit that I laughed a few times, too. It is a comedy with no aspirations for anything other than a forgettable good time, so it is unfair to expect it to make sense or respect the dignity of its characters. But I still think it is worth noting that unlike comedy predecessors from Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin through Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Steve Martin, and Jim Carrey, all of whom created humor by their failed attempts to fit into the accepted of society, this movie and all of its characters share an unstated assumption that traditional notions of success are barely relevant and even a little depressing.
All comedy is subversive, but this unrelenting bleak insistence on opting out of any opportunity for finding meaning in relationships or work just becomes sad. It is especially disconcerting coming from Ice Cube, whose own life is in sharp contrast. Although the subject matter of his early work with the rap group NWA was very anti-establishment, no one has worked harder within the rules to achieve the most traditional forms of success in producing, writing, and starring in movies. Ice Cube is a fine actor and has appeared in first-class films like Boyz N the Hood, Three Kings, and his own recent unexpected hit, Barbershop.