Fake Bonanza. Ow Lawd. Say It Ain't So.
There are only two kinds of people that I can imagine might want to see Next Day Air: Mos Def fans and Donald Faison fans. Please allow me to dissuade those people from seeing it anyway. I fall under both categories and I, like you, was under the misconception that any movie with both Faison and Mos Def couldn’t be that bad, could it?
It can. And it was.
In large part, it was because Mos Def is barely in the movie. And Faison is essentially a minor character. The marketing department did an amazingly shitty thing by featuring two movie posters, one with Mos Def front and center and the other with Faison in the front. It’s not their movie. Mos Def has only two small scenes — five minutes of total screen time, and his character has no value to the plot (in fact, he may have been written in after the fact, just so he could be added to the movie poster). And Chocolate Bear neither dances nor plays air guitar, so his presence is more or less wasted in Benny Boom’s directorial debut.
I should also mention it’s not a comedy. Or, if it is, they forgot to make it funny.
Next Day Air is essentially a set-up movie —in bowling terms, it takes 76 laborious minutes for Boom to set up the rack so that he can roll a clanker — one of those 12 mph releases with no spin that leaves a 7, 4, 6, 10 split that’s followed up by a gutter ball. It’s an interminable, limp film that wanders, aimlessly, toward a conclusion with no payoff.
Faison plays Leo, a pot-smoking delivery driver for Next Day Air. Three winds to the tit, Leo drops off a package full of drugs from Mexico in the wrong Philly apartment (here played by an L.A. apartment) before essentially exiting stage left until the final scenes. In those intervening, ass-draggy minutes, the dimwitted hustlers who come into the package (Mike Epps and “The Wire’s” Avon Barksdale) try to unload it to some higher-up dimwitted thugs (Omari Hardwick and Darius McCrary) while the rightful dimwitted owners of the cocaine (Cisco Reyes and Yasmin Deliz), along with the dimwitted kingpin deliverer (Emilio Rivera), attempt to track down its whereabouts. Naturally, they all meet up in the end for a dimwitted Mexican standoff, leaving you hoping that one of the errant bullets will whiz off-screen and put you out of dimwitted misery.
Next Day Air is essentially an urban Tarantino flick, if Tarantino were on lithium and missing the right side of his brain; meshed with Guy Ritchie’s stylism, if Ritchie were a wall-eyed, color-blind, monthly-pass holder on the short bus; crossed with a stoner comedy where someone forgot to bring the goddamn pot. It’s flat, lifeless genre mash-up with little personality, no attitude, and worst of all: Barely any Mos Def.