This is a movie I watched growing up. My whole family loved it. Yes, it's crass, and there's a lot of foul language, but ultimately it's a really relatable movie about family, and growing up. One of my favorites, I now realize, after rewatching it as an adult.
In his [Ice Cube's] dramatic roles, Cube's raised eyebrows usually unleashed a fearsome glare and a hint of danger; here, his expressions are more quizzical, amused or confused. He plays against type, just as the movie itself plays against hype.
There's no plot or anything engaging in "Friday". As simple as the title is, it depicts a loose and satirical suburb with some very memorable scenes and lines. Clearly a fun effort from everyone involved, but believe me when I say that this is some lightweight stuff. Take it or leave it.
Bottom-line: It wasn’t particularly funny but it feels like it captured a moment in 1995.
I remember, when I was six, a friend of mine (also age six) saw Friday. He loved it. He would reference it all the time and I never got any of it. It was so frustrating because I didn’t particularly want to see it but I wanted understand what he was referencing. It was like South Park. I never watched it when I was little but most of my schoolmates did. Every, what day was it, Thursday (the day after a new episode came out) I could expect to be left out of the first half of the lunchroom conversation. Anyway, by golly, it only took nearly twenty years but now I get the references to Friday. And let me tell you it was worth it. It is Friday in Oakland, CA. Craig (Ice Cube) recently lost his job. He is hanging out at home with his drug dealing, pothead friend, aptly named Smokey. The local drug dealer, Big Worm, gave Smokey two hundred dollars worth of weed to sell. Instead of selling it, Smokey, well smoked it. He gets Craig involved somehow and now they need to get money or they will be shot. That’s pretty much it, plot-wise. There are some other characters like the neighborhood bully, Deebo (Lister), but they aren’t anything really worth mentioning.
The humor in Friday varies in subject from crude fart jokes to jokes about obese people. At one point, Smokey tells the “hilarious” story about how he smoked weed with a couple Hispanic gangsters only to find out it was laced with cocaine. It feels like they tried to make the banter between Craig and Smokey a main source of humor but it doesn’t really work. When that delivery actually works, it’s great but here the conversation feels awkward and forced.
Ice Cube’s acting can be described as a complex series of snarls. You have the one that says, “Sheesh, I’m frustrated” and another that says, “Man, what an inconvenience!” Chris Tucker plays Smokey as if he was preparing to be Ruby Rap in The Fifth Element; he jumps around and yells like he’s hyped on caffeine all while being smooth as butter (or so he thinks). I think because he reminded me of Ruby, he was the only thing that made this movie reasonably palatable (which is saying something because I usually don’t like goofy, silly characters).
Would I ever recommend this movie? No way. I’am glad I saw it just to cross it off the things to do before I die list. For those of you who are wondering, Next Friday (the sequel to Friday), is painfully awful. I couldn’t get further than fifteen or twenty minutes. Craig moves neighborhood because the neighborhood bully broke out of prison and is looking for Craig. They couldn’t even get Smokey in the movie (“he went to rehab”) so they invented a slew of cartoon characters I couldn’t care less about. Blah. Just thinking about it gives me headache.
An acquaintance of mine grew up in a rougher part of Philadelphia. One day, he explained to me why he likes those Tyler Perry comedies. They resonate with him having grown up in an African American household and neighborhood. I have a feeling that Friday serves the same purpose. I can only relate- well, I can’t relate to it. I am closer to Mapleton Drive than the world in Friday. The only way I can orient myself is through documentaries and "serious" films about life in the ghetto. For example, I remember seeing the crack-head character in Menace II Society and there is one in Friday named Ezal (Johnson). At one point, Craig and Smokey are the targets of a drive-by. In a movie like Menace II Society, such a thing would be tragic but, in Friday, it’s an inconvenience.
In my IT work, I’m often sitting with a client at his or her computer waiting for it to load. What do you do in those situations? Small talk. I'll ask them how egregiously Hollywood warps his or her profession. Being into computers, my eyes roll when I hear “hack the Gibson” or “enhance.” For another example, what show or movie most accurately depicts the field of medicine? Repeatedly, the answer I receive is Scrubs. Now, being a blonde, white, middle class male, I am struggling to come up with a phrasing that doesn’t come across as racist but Friday makes me wonder what one would say in terms of the cinematic representation of life in the ghetto. Is reality closer to Menace II Society or Friday? Note that I am using these two films as different ends of the spectrum. I’m thinking that reality falls closer to Menace II Society but asking a question like this opens up a can of philosophical worms. In part, it comes down to a question of authenticity.
What does it mean to represent life in general (not just in the ghetto) “correctly”? Is it even possible? Considering Menace II Society and Friday, what is the purpose of each of these representations? Does the purpose affect the representation? In other words, what are the implications of a film being a comedy versus a comment on society? These are all interesting questions but I’ll save them for later.
Wait. Was this a movie? I thought it was like an episode of some ghetto inspired comedy! So let me make this clear for you, if this was an episode from TV Series, then fine! But for a movie its very poorly made! With few funny scenes and characters, this movie is a great time killer. But if you're looking for a good comedy, comeback later when you have absolutely nothing else to watch!