If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That was the intention of producer Ice Cube when making “Friday After Next,” the third installment in the “Friday” series. Ice Cube reuses many of the plotlines, types of humor and even exact lines that made “Friday” and “Next Friday” so successful. But “Friday After Next” also brings in its own original elements, and it is these new twists combined with the old, familiar essentials that make this movie worthwhile.

Like its predecessors, “Friday After Next” finds Chris Jones (Ice Cube, “All About the Benjamins”) trying to make it through another Friday. The movie opens in the apartment where Chris now resides with his cousin Day-Day (Mike Epps, “All About the Benjamins”). It’s the night before Christmas, and the only creature stirring is a sneaky Santa Claus. This crooked Claus steals all of the boys’ presents and their rent money, setting up the money problems that Chris always seems to fall into on Fridays. Just like the first two, the minimal plot consists of how Craig can get enough money to avoid another disastrous Friday. The majority of the day is spent following Craig and Day-Day at their new jobs as security guards at an outdoor shopping center. There’s no doubt that this somewhat ironic employment will provide the interactions that this movie needs to keep alive the “Friday” traditions.

Like the last two Fridays, Craig and his helpless sidekick get into physical danger. It is not Deebo that threatens Craig’s safety this time, but his landlord’s son, Damon (Terry Crews), who has recently been released from jail. The jail time has brought about some changes in Damon’s sexual preference, and neither Craig nor Day-Day wish to be his welcoming home gift. Amidst all of the conflicts and problems that seem to characterize Craig’s Fridays, he always seems to find time to kick back, relax and forget about his problems with the help of a little marijuana. A Friday wouldn’t be complete without getting high, after all. Of course, someone does take a beating at the end of the movie, because Friday also wouldn’t be complete unless someone “got knocked the fuck out!”

Other than Craig and Day-Day, “Friday After Next” brings back some of the other classic characters from the first two installments. John Witherspoon is back as Willie, Craig’s dad. However, the bathroom humor that made him so funny in the first two is subdued to a short stint near the end of the film. Don “D.C.” Curry returns as Uncle Elroy, creating competition with his brother Willie throughout the movie. Anna Maria Horsford comes back as Mrs. Jones, Craig’s mother, and making a crowd pleasing return appearance at the end of the movie party is Pinky, played by Clifton Powell. But “Friday After Next” also sees some new actors making their “Friday” debuts.

Following in the footsteps of Nia Long and Lisa Rodr

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