Donald Faison & Mike Epps in Next Day Air
Stoner runs afoul of bad men with guns: It worked (commercially) for the white boys of "Pineapple Express," why not for the African-American and Latino ensemble of "Next Day Air"?
Donald Faison plays a Philadelphia courier whose chronic use of the chronic causes him to drop a big box of cocaine at the door of the wrong apartment.
The cokehound hood (Cisco Reyes) under the thumb of Mr. Big (Emilio Rivera) realizes he's a dead man unless he retrieves the shipment, now in the hands of the astonished dealers portrayed by Mike Epps and Wood Harris.
After a tangle of flashbacks a la Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" or "Rocknrolla," first-time screenwriter Blair Cobbs confines the film to a clammy apartment, photographed by David A. Armstrong with the putridity he brought to "Saw."
"Next Day Air" is sort of bracing, though it isn't very good: Its total lack of dramatic and comic bearings, to say nothing of a point, keeps you wondering about the next fatality, in a half-interested way.
This odd combination of caper and bloodbath, directed by Benny Boom in a style averse to any kind of comedy, looks like a lark from the ads, which are dominated by the "Scrubs"-friendly image of Faison, front and center next to Mos Def (whose part seems to have been truncated in the final edit).
But the scenes of cigar-burn torture, tongue-removal and various assorted killings may lead audiences to wonder if they've been baited-and-switched.
One scene hints at the movie that should've been.
It features Faison's Leo and a fellow courier, played by Def. Nothing much happens; behind a delivery truck the men smoke, complain, mutter and smoke some more, before they -- and the film -- get back to the grim business at hand. It's the funniest two minutes in "Next Day Air."
Someone should write a script for these guys, a better one than this one.
"Next Day Air" Movie Trailer
Next Day Air MPAA rating: R (for pervasive language, drug content, some violence and brief sexuality).
Running time: 1:28.
Starring: Donald Faison (Leo); Mike Epps (Brody); Wood Harris (Guch); Yasmin Deliz (Chita); Cisco Reyes (Jesus); Mos Def (Eric).
Directed by Benny Boom;
Written by Blair Cobbs;
Produced by Scott Aronson and Inny Clemons.
A Summit Entertainment release.
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