Friday (1995)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Friday</strong> (1995)

(On DVD, April 2016) If Friday is a minor classic of its genre, it’s largely because it managed to ride the ’hood-movie trend of the mid-nineties and turn it into a stoner comedy without betraying its origins. Famously co-written by NWA-founder/Boyz n the Hood lead actor Ice Cube (who also stars in the film), Friday doesn’t mean to be anything more or less than a day in the life of the ’hood, celebrating the absurdity of its environment while looking at it fondly at the same time. Much of the film is surprisingly retrained to a single street, with the two protagonists of the story (Cube and Chris Tucker in an early role) sitting on their porch and watching the world coming to them. Soft drugs are consumed, with amusing consequences. Much of Friday, especially its first half, is laid-back, almost amorphous in the way it accumulates plot elements. Fortunately, it all leads to something in the end. There is some suspense in the film, but most of its violence (including a shootout) is handled with comedy in the form of intentionally awkward pauses and character quips. Friday remains most noteworthy for showcasing a young Ice Cube in a comic role, something that would occur again with some regularity in the course of his career, but also was the debut feature film for F. Gary Gray (who would later get a reputation as an action director, and direct Straight Outta Compton which portrays Ice Cube writing Friday). Meanwhile, John Witherspoon seems to be acting in his own kind of demented universe, to further comic effect. Despite its obviously low budget and slack pacing, Friday is still enjoyable today—see it alongside Boyz ’n the “hood for maximum contrast.

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