Septmeber 27, 2009
Review - " Next Day Air " - (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Mike Epps and Wood Harris are cousins who believe the coke "came from God." They plot how to spend the money they're
going to make, grand plans for an Escalade and hookers Brody (Epps) hires by phone. However, things start to fall apart
when the original recipient and his girlfriend try to track down the lost package. The high-level drug dealer steps in and
threatens to bring bloody violence to the small time thugs as well as Leo, who was just caught in the wrong place at the
Guch (Harris) is more paranoid. And with a distraught Jesus across the way looking for his lost delivery, correcting
everybody's pronunciation of his name ("That's GEE-zus!"), fighting with his shrill Nuyorican girlfriend (Yasmin Deliz, a
stitch), Guch has every right to be scared.
In this corner of Philly, everybody's related to some other manner of crook, and Brody's cousin (Omari Hardwick) is the hook-
up for unloading a lot of blow. Can the clumsy thieves trust the untrusting drug dealer? Will the Mexican drug lord (Emilio
Rivera, creepy) put it all together and track them down? Or will he take out his frustration on poor Jesus? And what about
the doper delivery dude? Will he and his steal-from-his-own-delivery-truck pal (Mos Def) get theirs?
"Next Day Air" was cast like a comedy with funny roles for Debbie Allen, Darius McCrary and Malik Barnhardt, who plays the
robbers' blissfully sleepy roommate. Much of the violence is comic – threats that Jesus makes every time somebody calls
him "hay-Zeus," practicing waving a gun in the mirror. But all these drugs, all these thugs and all those guns are going to
wind up making a bloody mess, sooner or later.
The movie doesn’t stay on an even keel. Instead of playing the comedy card consistently, Boom yanks the audience back
and forth between this and a more gritty, violent action piece. He tries to give the actors their punchy dialogue, but this
never quite works in the serious light.
The only thing that I enjoyed throughout the film was the presence of Dominican/Colombian starlet Yasmin Deliz, who plays
one of the drug dealer’s girlfriends. While she gets her ghetto on a little too much for my tastes, she’s quite fetching to look
at. I couldn’t tell you what her character arc was all about, but I can tell you that she looks great in tight-fitting jeans.
The sad thing about
“Next Day Air” is that it could
have been successful as
either type of film. There are
funny moments. And there
are some wicked-cool action
sequences, in particular a
shoot out that rivals some of
the coolest gun play I've seen
in these drug-dealer flicks.
However, as a whole, the two
pieces never fit together, and
the constant switching of
styles left me bored and
confused rather than
excited and satisfied.
Next Day Air
Directed by: Benny Boom
Starring: Donald Faison, Mos Def, Darius McCrary, Lauren London, Wood
There's no honor among thieves in "Next Day Air," a dopey, bloody and
The laughs come easily enough. But the violence and grim finale drag this
coke-deal-gone-wrong comedy into a hole it can't giggle its way out of.
The film is meant to be a hip and energetic tale of gangland misadventures.
Donald Faison (of TV's "Scrubs") plays Leo, a package delivery man
constantly high on pot. His buddy Eric (Mos Def) is the star of the delivery
service even though he’s constantly stealing merchandise he’s supposed to
deliver. One day, Leo accidentally delivers a package of high-quality cocaine
bricks to the wrong apartment. Inept thieves smoke weed, play video games
and argue over who was supposed to do what at their last botched bank job.
The small time thugs (Mike Epps and Wood Harris) who end up with the coke
decide to move the merchandise on their own to make some extra cash.