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On April 26, 1995, New Line Cinema unveiled Ice Cube’s screenwriting debut Friday in theaters, where the comedy grossed $27 million domestically and launched two sequels. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:
Something of a lighthearted Boyz N the Hood, Friday is a scrappy and irreverent comedy marking the screenwriting debut of rapper-actor Ice Cube (along with DJ Pooh) and the feature directorial debut of busy music video helmer [F.] Gary Gray.
A colorful take on a day in the life of a South Central neighborhood, the agreeable result may prove a little too benign for those looking for a little action, but Friday should still translate into a tidy payday for New Line, particularly in urban ‘hoods.
Ice Cube also does on-camera duty as the freshly unemployed Craig Jones, who lives at home with his mother (Anna Maria Horsford), dog catcher father (John Witherspoon) and taunting sister (Regina King).
Despite constant threats from his parents, Craig decides to put off the job search in favor of hanging at his house, taking in the day’s local sights and sounds along with his perpetually high pal Smokey (Chris Tucker).
Among the parade of eccentrics who pass by their porch perch are Deebo (Tiny “Zeus” Lister), the overgrown neighborhood bully; Big Worm (Faizon Love), a drug lord who fronts as an ice cream man and, in a brief but memorable cameo, Sanford and Son‘s LaWanda Page as a less-than-charitable Jehovah’s Witness.
While the character-driven script has a weakness for toilet humor (Mel Brooks would be proud), its inhabitants are given some oddball quirks and tics that keep things percolating when the plot development runs a little thin.
In his first comedic vehicle, Ice Cube wisely plays straight man to an able cast of professional stand-ups. — Michael Rechtshaffen, originally published April 26, 1995.
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