I was plenty offended by “Next Day Air’s” contempt for its characters. But the racism and sexism of this vile movie about dumb crooks and dumber would-be crooks and even dumber people who get mixed up with the first two groups is not as offensive as its contempt for its audience. It isn’t just insulting; it is boring. The ten zillionth time someone on screen said “Know what I’m sayin'” or “That’s what I’m sayin'” I wanted to stand up and yell, “No one has said anything!” Richard Pryor and David Mamet can make profanity into poetry, transforming a few simple explicatives into infinite varieties of expression. But the script here is slack and listless, throwing four-letter words, shotgun blasts, “what is he/she doing in this movie” moments, bad judgment, insults, and drugs around as if they are all inherently funny. Trust me, if you ever thought that might be true, this movie will prove once and for all that it is not.
Leo (“Scrubs'” Donald Faison) is a pot-smoking deliveryman for an overnight package service who has messed up so many times that his manager — who is also his mother — says he just one more complaint and he will be fired. So he immediately tokes up again and delivers a package to the wrong apartment. It should go to Jesus (Cisco Reyes) — who prefers to have his name pronounced the English way — and his girlfriend Chita (Yasmin Deliz). Instead, it is delivered to three failed bank robbers across the hall, one who sleeps through almost all of the movie, and his roommates, Brody (Mike Epps) and Guch (Wood Harris). They think they’ve hit the jackpot when they open it up to discover — guess what! drugs! So they call in Brody’s cousin Shavoo (Omari Hardwick) and his no-name sidekick to monetize their new asset. Meanwhile, big old meanie drug lord Bodega (Emilio Rivera) is very interested in getting his product back and every bit as interested in hurting anyone who might be in the way of achieving that goal. Mayhem ensues, and it feels like it takes forever.
Every single character is a grotesque stereotype, from the Latina spitfire who does the salsa as she cooks and calls her boyfriend Papi to the evil drug dealer, the dopey crooks who think they’re all that, and the shiftless package delivery guy and his angry black woman mother. Watching it is an excruciating experience. And then, to add insult to injury, the mindless comedy turns into a mindless shoot ’em up. Mark this package delivery refused.
Parents should know that this film has non-stop offensive content including racist and sexist humor, very strong language, drug humor, crude bodily function humor, sexual references and situations including prostitutes, nudity, drug dealers, torture, and explicit and graphic violence with grisly images, some intended to be humorous.
Family discussion: How do the characters in this movie decide who to trust? Do you think the characters got what they deserved?
If you like this, try: the “Friday” series. And for a different take on this film, take a look at this fascinating review by Armond White who says:
T]here’s a superior (lively, unforced) realism to how Next Day Air demonstrates that people’s values and routines, their self-interests, can be at cross-purposes. It’s the insight Americans have been afraid to face since the political upheaval of the 1960s and ’70s (from urban blight to Watergate to the Iraq War), yet it surfaces in this unassuming action flick whose candor and ribaldry once distinguished the best hip-hop records. As each set of triflers and hustlers compete for the drugs–or just to get through a day–they express themselves with amusing, sometimes corrosive, fluency.