Next Day Air is one of those movies I just dread to watch. Not because it’s all that bad, because it isn’t. It’s just that it isn’t anything all that special and offers little to talk about, so it’s a bit of a chore to write a full-length review of it. Since it was the only major release opposite Star Trek, which I reviewed last week, I have no choice but to address this film in long form, so here I go. Warning: I might have to resort to poetry or stories about dogs to pad this thing somewhere in the middle.
First off, I find little humor in a film about a Fed Ex type deliveryman (Donald Faison) who smokes a lot of weed and delivers shit to the wrong apartments. I get a lot of packages on a daily basis, and they sometimes go to the wrong place, and this just causes anxiety for me. So, right off the bat, I wasn’t too keen on the premise.
Also, this thing is being marketed as a comedy, and it has funny people in the cast (Faison, Mike Epps, Mos Def), but it isn’t very funny. It’s one of those films that try to balance the laughs with violence, and its tone is all over the place. You might find yourself giggling a little bit, but then some poor sap starts getting doused with flammable liquids, or a roomful of people gets shot up. Kind of puts a damper on the laughter party.
Faison plays Leo, a deliveryman who is in severe danger of getting fired from his dead-end job where his mom (Debbie Allen) is the boss. He delivers a big box of cocaine to the wrong apartment number, and some small-time criminals (including Epps) feel they can reap the benefits. They immediately set out to sell the stuff, which will lead to an eventual confrontation with Jesus (Cisco Reyes), the intended receiver of said drugs.
It’s unsettling when you see a movie where a guy cuts into a brick of cocaine, and many of the guys sitting around you at the theater start making noises like they are having sex. I’m totally serious, that’s what happened when I was watching this movie.
One of the characters took his switchblade and punctured the plastic surrounding some coke, and I heard some guys in the audience, in low sexy voices, say, “Oh yeah … that’s what I’m talking ’bout. You wanna give me some of that.” Sounded like a freaking porno in that movie theater. I’m surprised the comments weren’t punctuated by the sounds of heavy snorting.
So, one third of the movie is Leo dealing with his job and hanging with coworker Eric (Mos Def), while another third is Epps and his cohorts trying to do a drug deal with his cousin Shavoo (Omari Hardwick). Another chunk of the film is devoted to Jesus and his girlfriend Chita (Yasmin Deliz) fighting about the whereabouts of the drug package. Of the three storylines, the Epps one is probably the most interesting, but that’s only because it features Darius McCrary of Family Matters fame. You have to give props to a guy who survived nine years with Urkel. Did you hear me? That show was on for NINE YEARS!
Faison is funny on Scrubs, and he’s OK here as a man in dire need of getting his priorities straight. Mos Def is given next to nothing to do. I guess the amount of laughs you get out of this film depends upon how funny you think it is when a bunch of people get shot and tortured. Who knows? You might find this to be a laugh riot.
I got through this review without having to share poetry or dog stories. Good for you, because my poetry sucks, although I do have a couple of decent puppy anecdotes in my literary arsenal. Perhaps I will share them at another time.