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While not as hilarious as DON’T BE A MENACE TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD, the urban comedy FRIDAY ($25) produces some genuine laughs. FRIDAY stars Ice Cube as Craig, a typical Los Angeles youth living in the hood. Since the title is FRIDAY, the film depicts a particular Friday in Craig’s life from the moment he wakes up, until the time he goes to bed. Unfortunately, Craig’s day starts off bad and just keeps getting worse. Somehow he got fired from his job on his day off, there is no milk for his cereal, his parents are on his case, plus he’s got a psycho girlfriend constantly harassing him.

Making matters worse for Craig is Smokey (Chris Tucker), his substance abusing best friend, who just got them both into a whole mess of trouble with Big Worm (Faizon Love), the local drug dealer. Adding to the chaos is Deebo (Tom 'Tiny' Lister Jr.), the neighborhood bully who is always shaking everyone down for money or anything else they may have on them. The plot of FRIDAY may not sound particularly funny, but there are plenty of laughs generated by Chris Tucker, as well as John Witherspoon, who is utterly hilarious as Craig’s dogcatcher father. The cast of FRIDAY also includes Nia Long, Anna Maria Horsford, Regina King, Paula Jai Parker and D.J. Pooh. Look for LaWanda Page in an amusing cameo.

New Line Home Video has issued FRIDAY on DVD as part of their Platinum Series, in a 16:9 enhanced, wide screen presentation. As with most New Line DVD titles, FRIDAY looks great, which kind of surprised me, considering the low budget nature of this particular film. The 1.85:1 framed image is relatively sharp and well detailed. Colors are nicely saturated and reproduce without chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks appear accurate and the level of shadow detail is more than respectable. Dual layer authoring keeps digital compression artifacts out of the picture.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack decodes to standard surround with decent results, although it lacks the definition of a discrete track. Dialogue is clean, while most of the sound effects and music are localized to the forward soundstage. Surround usage is less than impressive, even for a matrixed soundtrack. The urban music on the soundtrack is adequately represented, but a new discrete mix would have helped to pump the music up to the necessary level of clarity. Subtitles are provided on the DVD in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus include animation and music. Through the menu system, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVD’s supplements. Supplements include seven deleted scenes, Q & A interviews with director F. Gary Gray and producer Pat Charbonnet, Dr. Dre "Keep Their Heads Ringin’" music video, Ice Cube "Friday" music video, two theatrical trailers and cast & crew biographies/filmographies.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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