Next Day Air

by Rick Grant
Grade: C Rated R 90 min
This scenario is a cautionary tale that warns: Excessive pot smoking makes people stupid. The script, written by Scott Aronson, is a parody of black gangster films involving drug thugs. But these characters are dumber than most of the street criminals who ended up in jail.
Shavoo and Guch are bumbling bank robbers who pulled a bank job and only took the surveillance tapes because one of the dummies thought that’s what his partner said. Instead, he said “get the safe not the “tapes.” So, the gang who couldn’t hear straight stole a bunch of VHS tapes and no money.
Another weed head, Leo (Donald Faison – Scrubs) who works for his mother’s package delivery service, Next Day Air, delivers a box of cocaine kilos to the wrong address, which happens to be the inept bank robbers digs. Of course, they can’t believe their luck. Mana from heaven.
The persons who were designated to receive the package, Jesus (Cisco Reyes) and Chita (Yasmin Deliz) live across the hall. They’re frantic that their dope is missing. His boss is not happy. This sets off a series of events that harken back to an old Shaft movie. All the characters involved are stupefied by continuous reefer smoking, and make bad decisions.
The bank robber gang now has to figure out how to sell the kilos of cocaine without getting ripped off. Brody (Mike Epps) has a cousin he may be able to trust. But, in this game, trust no one. This is when the scenario gets complicated, as trouble orbits around the drugs.
The buyer of the drugs finds out he’s been ripped off from his storage unit where he kept the money to buy the drugs. That sets off another violent sequence to retrieve the cash stash. The bank robber gang is sitting on potential dynamite that could lead to a deadly confrontation.
Directed by Benny Boom with plenty of space for occasional improv, which works sometimes, but mostly, it fizzles out. The cast is funny playing these overblown stereotypes, which keeps the laugh level high. However, the overall lack of continuity and even pacing hurts the final cut.
If the weed smoking gang wasn’t so stoned maybe they wouldn’t screw up everything they touched, but even when they’re straight they are mental midgets. The three parties trying to get their hands on the cocaine are now ready to kick some ass to get it. It’s showdown at OK Walkup.
It’s a good thing the preview audience got the joke, because the film could be offensive to African-Americans, but they understood this was a dark comedy sending up stereotypical black characters from bygone Blaxploitation films. In that respect, the film is hip and funny. But I think unless white audiences have knowledge of the history of black films, then they might not get the parody angle.
Still, the message is, smoking massive amounts of pot is like getting a lobotomy. The criminals in this film just couldn’t think or shoot straight.