I was going to write a huge diatribe about how this film deals with some serious socio-political issues as well as how some of the films’ more offensive jokes would be viewed in a “woke” society and move onto how much I dislike this holiday season (10 years in retail is enough to crush anyone’s festive cheer). Hence my choice of a rather unconventional Christmas film. However, as I sat down I found myself unable to contain my laughter however inappropriate the humour might be.

So sit back, relax.

Smoke em if you’ve got em!

It’s Friday. It’s Christmas Eve and Craig (Ice Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) are back in Crenshaw where it all began. The film starts with ghetto Santa Claus, “picture ODB in a Santa suit”  breaking into our hero’s apartment and taking everything that wasn’t nailed down including the rent money hidden in the stereo. A genuinely funny slapstick routine with Craig ensues after he walks in to find aforementioned  Santa on the rob, the highlight of which being our hero getting beat down with a Christmas tree.

This provides the launch pad for the hilarity we’ve become accustomed to from the Friday franchise, although the absence of Smokey (Chris Tucker) is felt. The cameos of Joel McKinnon Miller (pre-Brooklyn 99’s Detective Scully) as Officer A. Hole, Terry Crews as the landlady’s “fresh out the pen” son Damon and Katt Williams as Money Mike more than make up for this factor. The latter of the trio provides us with some of the movies most memorable quotes. Money Mike screaming “pimp in distress” as he finds himself trapped under a shop mannequin will never cease to bring a smile to my face.

Like I said though this instalment is incomparable to the first Friday film from 1995. Which even now has me laughing from “it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job and you ain’t got shit to do.” However, it is considerably better than Next Friday (2002) which, as much as I love Ice Cube as a musician and now actor, I still find difficult to watch. I think the loss of Crenshaw as a backdrop to the film’s antics is a huge part of the problem. That and Epps as a replacement for Tucker without the calibre of supporting cast from this instalment just doesn’t work so well.

I’m not going to lie although technically yes this film is set at Christmas and it does teach the important lessons of “togetherness” and “family” that all good Christmas films should contain, I’ve definitely still watched this film in the middle of summer. I’ll never not find it funny to shout “you got knocked the fuck out” at the TV. Its antics make it one of those Christmas movies along with A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) and The Night Before (2015), which makes it very stoner-friendly so would definitely recommend smoking beforehand.