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NEXT FRIDAY ($25) picks up four years after the events depicted in FRIDAY and deals with the aftermath of our boy in the hood kicking the local bully's butt. Ice Cube returns to the role of Craig Jones, the urban youth who learned what it means to be a man by beating Debo (Tom 'Tiny' Lister Jr.) with his fists, instead of with a gun. As NEXT FRIDAY opens, Debo breaks out of jail and vows to have his revenge on Craig. Craig's father, Mr. Jones (John Witherspoon), decides it would be best for everyone if Craig spent some time away from the hood, and with his relatives in the suburbs.

Unfortunately, life with his Uncle Elroy (Don 'D.C.' Curry) and cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps) in the modestly upscale community of Rancho Cucamonga isn't any better. Between the advances of his uncle's freaky girlfriend Suga (Kim Whitley) and the drug dealing Mexicans next door, Craig is wishing to return to the sanity of the hood. However, there are only two things keeping Craig around- the pretty girl who lives next door and finding a way to raise the $3,900.00 needed to stop the taxman from auctioning off his uncle's house. NEXT FRIDAY has a number of hysterically funny moments, most of which involve John Witherspoon's character, however the movie isn't as consistently funny as the original FRIDAY. The cast of NEXT FRIDAY also includes Tamala Jones, Justin Pierce, Jacob Vargas, Amy Hill, Lisa Rodríguez, Sticky Fingaz, Clifton Powell, Lobo Sebastian and Rolando Molina.

New Line Home Video has made NEXT FRIDAY available on DVD as part of their Platinum Series. The terrific looking 16:9 enhanced wide screen transfer restores the film's 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and delivers the kind of sharp, detailed image one expects from a New Line DVD. Colors tend to quite vibrant, while the flesh tones retain a natural appearance. All of the hues are reproduced with maximum fidelity and no signs of chromatic distortion. Blacks are deep and true, plus the image displays excellent shadow detail and contrast. Digital compression artifacts remain in check, thanks to first rate dual layer authoring.

The Dolby digital 5.1 channel soundtrack features a standard comedy mix, with the edition of urban music. There is a driving beat for the music, and the music is mixed to take advantage of the discrete channels and the bass. Dialogue is well centered and is always clean and intelligible. Sound effects are well placed, but the mix isn't particularly aggressive. However, the surround channels do get a fair amount of use. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The interactive menus have an inventive interface that makes use of full motion video, animation and sound. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection features, as well as the DVD's supplements. Supplements include a running audio commentary with director Steve Carr and Ice Cube. The "Reel Time" feature allows one to watch the movie with the storyboards being present. There is a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that includes interviews with cast and crew. Also included on the DVD is an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, Mike Epps audition tape, original theatrical trailers and cast biographies/filmographies. Music videos for Ice Cube's You Can Do It and Lil Zane's Monkey Stretch fill out the main body of supplements. NEXT FRIDAY is also DVD-ROM enabled, offering Script-To-Screen, which allows one to read the screenplay while watching the movie.




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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