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The Package That Should Have Been Lost

Movie Title: Next Day Air (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Next Day Air is a limp ghetto comedy that rarely gets things right. What humor it offers is slow to get to and doesn’t bring enough of an “oomph” to warrant the wait. Any appeal that the film has requires a very unique frame of mind to appreciate. Though I repeatedly find myself wondering why on evolution’s green earth this was ever given the go on production, there’s that old adage about different strokes for different folks.

So, with that in mind, I have put together a quiz to determine if this one is a “yeh” or a “neh” for you…

Do you love cocaine? Do you love it so much that hearing about it and seeing others go into euphoric trances over it floats your boat? Do you love weed? Does your love for it extend to seeing people who are supposed to be working smoking pot and sloughing off? Do you love hard drugs enough that it tickles you to see housefuls of losers sleep all day and otherwise do nothing worthwhile? Do you prefer your comedy laced with tongues being cut out, guns pointed in faces, severe beatings from merciless drug-lords, abductions, and fatal shoot-outs? Does the presence of a feisty and cute, although stubborn, Latina with a taste for garlic and an attitude beckon you to watch a movie?

If you answered yes to three or more of the above questions, then you might put this one on your list. But consider yourself forewarned about the long and humorless interludes, which are a thing to contend with.

As much as they are able to, the characters get it right. Everyone seemed as real as they were supposed to, groping in all of their loserdom and desperation and their desire to stay on their happy perch known to the rest of us as the lowest rung of human society.

Leo (Donald Feison) works for a delivery company, and to say that he doesn’t take his work seriously is kind of an understatement. Even with a mom who bails him out of trouble time and again at work, he’s headed downhill. Customer complaints and carelessness have him scraping bottom, but that bottom is about to get a lot lower. This overpaid, under-working pothead mistakenly delivers a shipment to the wrong address. That shipment (unbeknownst to Leo) was of cocaine.

Druglord Bodega Diablo (Emilio Rivera), furious that his package did not arrive at its intended destination, comes looking to get back what is his. Temperamentally distraught Jesus (Cisco Reeves) tries to make the best of a bad situation in working with Diablo to get back what is his (this he does to save his own neck!) He’s in for a surprise when he finds out that an apartment full of small-time criminals who intercepted the package think it to be a gift from God and are not anxious to give it up. Lives are changed for the worse the more unsavory characters get lumped in with this demure work of fate.

I’ll admit, there’s something funny about seeing senseless violence erupt from the rotten decisions of moral scoundrels who are responsible for their own peril. And there is good comedy in seeing two lamebrains sit around and suppose that God has blessed them by sending them an illegal, mind-altering substance. It’s about as consistent and as funny as rappers who thank God for their latest hit single: “Hoes Gettin’ F&cked N’ Da Mouth.” No, it’s actually funnier.

Such moral inconsistencies are to be found everywhere in life. Also common are comedy films that contain insufficient amounts of humor to get them off the ground, and the ground (in the gutter, actually) is where Next Day Air stays and belongs.

Having profanity and violence doesn’t ruin a movie, neither does gore and death. These can go with a movie that makes you think, with a movie that makes you question yourself and your beliefs. Any movie with a message that transcends itself can work. Next Day Air has none of those things. It’s the package that should have been lost in the mail.

(JH)

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Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: R
Summation: All hell breaks loose at an apartment complex when a deliveryman delivers a shipment of drugs to the wrong address.
Director: Benny Boom
Starring: Donald Faison “Leo,” Mike Epps “Brody,” Wood Harris “Guch,” Omari Hardwick “Shavoo,” Emilio Rivera “Bodega,” Darius McCrary “Buddy,” Cisco Reyes “Jesus,” Yasmin Deliz “Chita,” Lobo Sebastian “Rhino,” Malik Barnhardt “Hassie,” Mos Def “Eric”
Genre: Comedy / Crime / Action

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