Friday

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Friday Movie Poster Image
Ice Cube's drug- and profanity-filled 'hood cult classic.
  • R
  • 1995
  • 91 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There are glimpses of goodness, but in general, the overall behavior of the people in this neighborhood is not so great. Characters gossip about one another and laugh at each other's misfortunes. Characters are drug dealers and shoot guns at one another. (Knives are also pulled.) Characters steal from one another. A bully terrorizes the neighborhood. Some characters smoke pot. Some characters "sleep around." On the plus side, though the bad behavior is played for laughs, it's not celebrated. Some characters with good intentions are rewarded, and some bad characters learn their lessons.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It could be argued that Craig is something of a positive role model, even though he uses foul language, loses his job, smokes pot, gossips, ogles women, and spends the day being lazy. He starts the movie as a passive, helpless character, lectured by parents, henpecked by a horrible girlfriend, and losing his job on his day off (!). By the end of the film, he learns to be active, to stand up for himself, and to do it without the aid of the gun he keeps in his room. He even stands up to the neighborhood bully. Moreover, he does not do drugs, and when he tries some pot once in the film, he instantly regrets it.

Violence

There's a knockdown, drag-out fist-fight that feels absolutely real; each blow lands with painful impact, and the fight incorporates bricks, boards, and garbage cans. Besides that, there's a shootout sequence that feels more movie-ish. Craig keeps a gun in his room, and there's talk about how much of a "man" it makes him. Knives are pulled. Otherwise, there are threats and plenty of characters treating each other with disrespect.

Sex

No nudity or onscreen sex, but characters talk about sex a great deal. There's some flirting and several women in revealing clothing, notably a woman who is seen watering her front yard (in slow motion) while wearing tiny cut-off shorts and a tank top. Two characters are seen sleeping in bed together, and there's a suggestion of off-screen sex as one character goes inside her house with the intention of seducing her.

Language

A full-force language assault, right from the first few seconds, including "s--t" and "f--k" and all their permutations, plus the "N" word, "p---y," "t-ts," "ass," "bastard," "hell," "damn," "God," "Goddamn," and "bitch," and that's just in the first 20 minutes. Additionally, there are bathroom jokes, sex jokes, drug jokes, and various other off-color jokes.

Consumerism

Several mentions of "Kool-Aid."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No one is an addict here, and not everyone does drugs, but one of the two main characters is a drug dealer and smokes pot throughout the entire movie. In one sequence, he encourages Craig to try it, and Craig quickly regrets it when a girl he likes comes over to his house. There's a reference to angel dust, and a minor character is referred to as a "crackhead." A character's mother sends him out for cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is a drug- and profanity-filled cult classic written by and starring the rapper Ice Cube; it's likely that most teens will have heard of it and will be interested in seeing it. One major character is a comical pot dealer who smokes his own inventory all day; this leads to a shootout, but an even more prominent scene is the brutal, climactic fist-fight between Cube and the block's mountain-sized bully. The movie has been accused of misogyny, and not without reason; the women are mostly either sexual objects or objects of scornful humor. It is also filled with sex talk, drug talk, and non-stop profanity, as well as insults of a racial and sexual nature. However, aside from all this, Friday is genuinely interesting in many ways, and is more culturally and historically notable than it may appear. It spawned two sequels and an animated TV series.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byjoskita88 August 22, 2010
Adult Written byoctober1985 December 12, 2010
Kid, 11 years old July 6, 2011

Good movie, but filled with profanities and violence.

So-so movie, but not great for kids. Also, I find it funny no one else has said this: Which seat should they taaaaaaaaaaaaaake?
Kid, 11 years old April 29, 2016

very funny

i think this movie is great and is ok for kids over 10 if they are mature enough

What's the story?

It's Friday in the 'hood. Craig (Ice Cube) has just lost his job (on his day off) and now has nothing to do but hang out with his friend, a comical drug dealer named "Smokey" (Chris Tucker). As the day passes, they gossip about the kooky neighbors, avoid the block bully Deebo ("Tiny" Lister), and smoke a little pot. Eventually, they must come up with $200 to pay back Smokey's boss, or else face his retribution. Meanwhile, Craig has developed a little crush on Debbie (Nia Long) and finds he must stand up to Deebo to protect her honor. Can Craig learn how to be a "man" without resorting to using the gun he has hidden in his room?

Is it any good?

Directed by F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job), FRIDAY is fairly unique in the history of African-American cinema. Though it depends partly on the usual toilet humor, it does not have the same hyped-up, eager-to-please vibe of most other comedies. It's uncharacteristically laid-back with a refreshing lack of plot mechanics. This, plus the one-day, one-neighborhood setting, allows the characters to flourish in a more organic way. In a way, it's almost on a level with such classics as Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep (1977) and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989).

That said, the movie also comes with a troublesome air of misogyny; most of the women characters are seen either as sexual objects or objects of scornful humor. It's also not particularly laugh-out-loud funny, as most of the humor is at the expense of other characters. In general, the overall behavior of the people in this neighborhood is not so great, but there are still glimpses of goodness that make it appealing and worthwhile for older teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the drugs in the characters' lives. Did Craig learn his lesson after he smoked pot? Should he have given in when he didn't want to? Does Smokey learn any lesson about his drug use?

  • How did the film's violence make you feel? Was it thrilling, or did it have a harsher effect?

  • How did you feel about the women in the film? Did any of them seem like strong people, or were they stereotypes?

Movie details

  • In theaters: April 26, 1995
  • On DVD or streaming: March 2, 1999
  • Cast: Chris Tucker, Ice Cube, Nia Long
  • Director: F. Gary Gray
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 91 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: pervasive strong language and drug use, and for a brutal fight

For kids who love comedy

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