Friday

1995, Movie, R, 90 mins

Review

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A star vehicle for rapper Ice Cube (who also cowrote and coproduced), FRIDAY is a lighthearted, comedic presentation of the realities chronicled in dramas like BOYZ N THE HOOD. Though funny, FRIDAY can't sustain its humorous tone to the end because it has to confront those same realities.

It's Friday, and Craig Jones (Ice Cube), who's just lost his job, has nowhere to go but his front stoop. From this vantage point, Jones and his pot-smoking friend "Smokey" (Chris Tucker) observe the comings and goings of the peculiar people in this particular 'hood. They include a dwarf on the outs with his sexy wife, an irritating beggar, a snooty neighbor, a not-so-righteous reverend, Jones's jealous girlfriend, Smokey's better left unseen blind date, and Jones's dog-obsessed father (a hilarious John Witherspoon). Not even a couple of run-ins with Deebo (Tiny "Zeus" Lister Jr.), a hulking thug who takes whatever he wants, can ruin their day. That is, until "Big Worm" (Faizon Love), the neighborhood drug dealer and ice cream vendor, comes by to collect the $200 Smokey owes him. He gives Smokey and Jones the rest of the day to come up with the money, and when they don't, they're targeted in a drive-by shooting. They survive, but Deebo lays hands on Debbie (Nia Long), a sweet girl Jones has a crush on, prompting Jones to go after him with a gun. Jones' father advises him to fight Deebo "like a man" — with his fists, and Jones topples the Goliath and receives the promise of romance from Debbie.

It's just a typical summer day on a residential street: Kids are playing, lawns are being watered, there's a lot going on but not much happening. And that's exactly the point — co-scriptwriters Ice Cube, DJ Pooh, and director F. Gary Gray find as much humor in well-observed detail as in the oddities of the film's world. There are slapstick gags, bathroom humor (both figuratively and literally), a lot of jokes about hairstyles and sight gags based on ridiculous juxtapositions, like the huge Deebo riding a little bike. All the inaction is set to a terrific, evocative soundtrack that mixes 1960s soul and Motown classics, Rose Royce's "I Wanna Get Next to You" from CAR WASH, rap from Cypress Hill and Cube, and Dr. Dre's hit "Keep Their Heads Ringin'." (Profanity, violence, substance abuse.) leave a comment

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