is the rarest specimen of African American cinema: a 'hood movie refreshingly free of the semiseriousness and moralism of shoot 'em up soaps such as Boyz N the Hood
, yet still true to the inner-city experience.
Scripted by rapper Ice Cube, Friday
is a no-frills tale of a typical day in the life of a pair of African American youth in South Central. Cube plays Craig, a frustrated teen who endures the ultimate humiliation: getting fired on his day off. Then unknown Chris Tucker plays Smokey, a marijuana-worshipping homeboy whose love for the green stuff lands him in predicament after predicament.
Sitting on the stoop of Craig's rundown home, the two hilariously confront a kaleidoscopic array of gangbangers, weed dealers, crack heads, prostitutes, scheming girlfriends, and neighborhood bullies--all of whom, it should be noted, come off as sympathetic even as they are being caricatured, a true achievement in the crass, "booty call" environment of '90s African American comedy. --Ethan Brown