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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.