A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has extremely strong language, including the "N" word. If the movie had been made by Caucasians, it would have been justifiably excoriated for its offensive racial stereotypes. It is racist, sexist, homophobic, and extremely vulgar. In the mall, there is a clothing store called "Pimp's and Ho's." Everyone loves smoking pot, even the police. Everyone lies, cheats, and steals. A character has a threesome. There are nasty jokes about homosexual rape.
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What's the story?
In FRIDAY AFTER NEXT, it is the morning of December 24, and Craig (Ice Cube) and his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) are asleep in their apartment when a burglar disguised as Santa Claus breaks in and steals all of their Christmas presents and the stereo speakers where Day-Day hid their rent money. Their mean landlady and her just-out-of-prison son want that money by the end of the day, so Craig and Day-Day take jobs as security guards at a seedy little strip mall and then have a rent party, which all leads to various encounters with colorful characters.
Is it any good?
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.
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