Next Day Air
Thu, May 7, 2009 (midnight)
Somewhere on the periphery of Next Day Air is a mildly amusing buddy comedy about a couple of pothead package-delivery guys who stumble into the middle of a drug deal gone wrong and accidentally come out of it ahead. Unfortunately, that storyline, which is played up in the trailers, is only maybe one-quarter of Air’s actual content. Scrubs’ Faison (also a producer) plays one of the clueless employees of a low-rent shipping company, and he at least has a fairly substantial role; Mos Def is the movie’s highlight as a slightly more savvy stoner, but he barely gets 10 minutes of screen time.
Air is really about the intersection of bumbling criminals who are all after the package of cocaine that Faison’s Leo mistakenly delivers to a pair of dim-witted hoods (Harris, Epps). The two small-time crooks try to sell the drugs, while a drug kingpin pressures the shipment’s intended recipient to track it down. Despite the scores of bullets that fly during the movie’s climax, it’s a decidedly low-stakes story, which makes the seriousness with which music-video director Boom (making his feature debut) stages things especially irritating.
The jokes aren’t particularly funny, but most of the time they’re not even there; stand-up comedian Epps barely gets to crack a smile, and Boom and screenwriter Blair Cobbs instead focus on tired gangsta posturing and crude violence, delivered with a complete lack of style. Deeply buried, a fun little stoner comedy cries for help.