Film review: 'Friday' is back to back old tricks

Expect Santa to rob you blind on Christmas Eve when “”Friday After Next”” rolls around. In Ice Cube’s fantastical Friday world, even the jolliest of men is a holiday-in-the-ghetto nightmare.

The third chapter of the “”Friday”” series finds Craig (Ice Cube) having flown the coop. He’s pulled himself up by his bootstraps and rented a bachelor’s pad with his cousin, Day-Day (Mike Epps). The two are so grown up that their pad even has Yuletide cheer during the holidays.

Yuletide cheer, however, is shattered in a hilariously funny scene when Santa “”The Cat Burglar”” Clause tiptoes under the mistletoe to steal any gifts worth taking. When Craig confronts Santa, the Christmas tree is a weapon in an opening scene that is fraught with swearing, classic insults and below-par stage-fighting that sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

“”Friday After Next”” is not experimental, does not push many boundaries and is pretty much like the other “”Friday”” films. Fans will eat this movie up. It is exactly as to be expected: toilet humor, women-with-moustaches humor, old-men-dancing humor and cops-who-do-nothing humor.

Of course, there is a plot. Ol’ St. Nick makes away with the rent money, and most of the movie is spent trying to get it back — though Craig and Day-Day never seem too concerned about it. Ice Cube and Epps could have made the threat of eviction more believable.

Hours to get the rent money in, jobs as unarmed security guards and a few pimps and hoes make the story drift away from its Christmas Eve theme. The old “”Friday”” slapstick comedy is in full force at all times, and only when “”Santa”” makes a sporadic appearance or someone sprays some fake snow on a window is the audience reminded that, yes, this is supposed to be a holiday treat.

Craig, of course, has a love interest. Donna (Anna Maria Horsford) returns his advances, but there is one obstacle — a micro-mini pimp named Money Mike. Small in stature and large in pimpin’ style, Money Mike bosses Donna around.

And Donna, for some reason, takes it.

Maybe she had a momentary lapse in consciousness due to sequin-blindness from Money Mike’s robes. Or maybe this is just the world of “”Friday.”” In any case, she eventually comes to her senses. Just wait until you see whose family jewels end up like walnuts in the Christmas nutcracker.

For more than a few cheap laughs, several jokes you can repeat and a good look at Christmas on “”Friday After Next,”” see the movie. Just go at the cheap matinee time — that way you’ll be sure to get close to your money’s worth.

Friday After Next


New Line Cinema

Starring Ice Cube, Mike Epps, In theaters Nov. 22

Rated R