December 02, 2002 12:00 PM

Ice Cube, Mike Epps

Ramshackle in both its comedic approach and setting, this third chapter in the Friday series is a rowdy trifle. It doesn’t veer from the low-laughs path established by 1995’s Friday and 2000’s Next Friday. If you liked those, you’ll like this one. If you thought—as I did—that they were crude, rude and flimsily constructed, ditto for Friday After Next.

Cube, who also serves as screenwriter and coproducer, plays straight man here to the oddballs who inhabit his gritty L.A. neighborhood. They include his dim-bulb flatmate (Epps), his gastrointestinally challenged pop (John Witherspoon) and a puny pimp (Katt Williams). (R)

BOTTOM LINE: Three times isn’t the charm

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