"Is there any hot girls in da movie?" one teenager said to no one in particular as he charged up the stairs. Just as your Show Biz Maven was getting out her ear trumpet, smelling salts, glossary, and abacus to keep score of all the four letter words, she heard another voice say: "Hey, yo! How's yo mama and my kids?"
Then came the feature. NEXT FRIDAY is a film by rapper Ice Cube. To some fans, the name alone is worth the price of admission, but to your Maven, this cube is about rolling and smoking pot, passing out, and even one the president didn't think of - doping a cigar.
Still, all this commotion can't blot out images of a condom floating in a Jacuzzi, Uncle Elroy's sex room, the script's denigration of women - especially overweight ones, plus a pit bull named Chico who gets stoned on marijuana and lies down during the film's second half, or perhaps looses consciousness at having to put up with his human co-stars.
Critics may give NEXT FRIDAY a favorable rating for trying to be amusing, a kind of "Something About Mary" without a brilliant cast and engaging story line. After all, the show is billed as a comedy so you expect a laugh or two, but the real joke is spending money listening to sentences that demand diagramming, characters who need acting lessons, and writing that requires a glossary. To be sure, your Maven's ear trumpet got a workout registering dialogue that sounded like this:
Cough it up yo nose
S--- S--- S--- S--- S--- S--- S--- S----
F--- it F--- up F---er F--- you
Hey bro, wuzup?
And now for the plot. The Show Biz Maven had no idea that NEXT FRIDAY was a sequel and that fans knew all about Craig (Ice Cube), a young man from south central Los Angeles who got into a fight with Debo (Tommy Lister Jr.), and now must take refuge. Leave it to dad, the dogcatcher, (John Witherspoon) to whisk his son off to live with his flamboyant Uncle Elroy (Don "DC" Curry) and schnooky cousin Day Day (Mike Epps). The biggest laugh is the relocation city: Rancho Cucamonga, a name that is sure to send audience members into gales of hysterics.
There in a peaceful suburban setting is Elroy's ostentatious purple house bought from his Lotto winnings. As Craig listens to the story, he's shown a picture of his late aunt who, upon hearing of her fortune, died of a heart attack. At this point, the audience explodes with laughter.
Making Craig's dad a dogcatcher is bound to bring in the poop jokes and once the father rolls in it, the gag lasts throughout the entire movie. Luckily, there's no Smell-O-Vision, but this doesn't mean the movie doesn't reek with indecipherable, incomprehensible, and unintelligible dialogue. Other than that, it should be on everyone's must see list.
Of course the Maven kept thinking throughout the film that Uncle Elroy was really Ice Cube! This utterly confused things until your Maven discovered who was who, but it didn't really alter the weak plot, crotch grabs, sexist insults, and enough words beginning with "s" and "f" to wear down the Maven's abacus.
"This s--- is good s---"
"Wanna f--- this s--- up?"
Finally, Craig meets up with a beautiful Latina neighbor (Lisa Rodriguez) who resembles Cher about thirty-five years ago. The Maven kept expecting her to sing, "I've Got You Babe" en espagnol, but this was like expecting Uncle Elroy's room to be devoid of porn videos, Day-Glo dildos, and S&M novelties.
Steve Carr takes his first feature shot directing and probably should have retired half way through with Chico, the dog. Or, in the words of the screenwriter: "I hear a lot of talking but the words don't mean s---."
With love & knishes from your Show Biz Maven.
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