It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! Phew, haven’t done that in a while. I was pretty surprised by Next Day Air. It’s a to-the-point vignette about a group of amateur criminals who accidentally come into possession of a very criminal amount of pure cocaine. How? A local delivery company, the titular Next Day Air, employs a couple of idiots who mostly smoke weed, steal stuff, and deliver things to the wrong addresses. Like a mini-Tarantino film a whole bunch of characters jump into the mix of trying to track down the drugs and we ultimately end with a surprisingly violent climax. Overall it almost felt like a part of an anthology film, and I mean that as a compliment. It doesn’t over complicate anything. It’s not perfect by any means, but it was surprisingly good in terms of storyline, characters, acting, and directing and so I was pretty pleased, particularly with the first half of the film.
I think the biggest critique is that while it starts out with some decent jokes it starts to get serious pretty fast by the back half of the film. Hard not to when you need to get yourself into a shootout over stolen drugs. But it is a little jarring that while Yasiin Bey and Donald Faison appear prominently on the poster, they are only used sparingly. Once they are out of the way and we have dropped the flashbacks that everyone gets (to a time when everyone was a little more hilarious, apparently), we are knee deep in death and destruction. Not exactly laugh-a-minute comedy material. Really moves from broad comedy to extra dark comedy across the runtime and this gave me a little whiplash. It also meant the back half of the film was a bit more boring. So mixed bag, but still not that bad!
I’m going to do a classic BMT drinking game for this one:
- The title is spoken or seen (1 drink – I can’t tell if NDA is a joke or not)
- Faison says a line (1 drink – this would be killer if he were actually the main character)
- Someone dares to do drugs (2 drinks – it’s no laughing matter)
- The elevator works… or doesn’t work (2 drinks – it works sometimes)
- Flashback! (3 drinks – what happened before the movie is funnier than the movie itself)
- A character dies (3 drinks – it puts the ha in ex-ha-cution style murder)
- Yasiin Bey is on screen (waterfall – he is literally the entire poster and appears twice)
That’s not half bad. Despite the fact that I liked it, I can admit it’s a weirdly constructed film for the comedy it purports to be. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Next Day Air? More like Kind of Fair! Amirite? These are the toughest moments of BMT. Those moments where you just aren’t the audience for a film and you kind of like it, but then you don’t know if you kind of like it because you are dumb and have bad taste, you know? Let’s go!
- This is an odd one because it is a comedy where everything but the comedy mostly works with the film. The film isn’t funny. There are maybe one or two things in it I would call “clever”, but nothing I would actually call funny.
- But then the film is a better “clever” crime film anyways. Coincidences compounding on each other to rope a hapless delivery man (Faison) into the even more hapless world of small-and-big-time drug dealers.
- That version of the film is pretty solid. I liked it. The comedy version of the film distracts you by just not really being funny.
- Faison and Wood Harris in particular are quite good in the film as well. The rest of the actors I could give or take mostly.
- This film might have one of the most misleading advertising campaigns I’ve ever seen. The trailer screams COMEDY at you when the film isn’t really that. And you barely see the drug dealers in the trailer as well. The trailer is 75% Faison (who is in the film for like 30 minutes total), with a healthy dose of Yasiin Bey (who, and I’m not joking, you see every single scene he is in in the trailer, he is in the film for maybe 10 minutes total).
- I don’t want to say that is the reason the film was panned by critics, but I’m sure it contributed to it. “Not funny” is a death knell for a comedy film. But it shouldn’t have been for this film since the film is amusing enough to be what it was trying to be, which is an amusing (and surprisingly violent) crime caper.
- Anyways. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Philadelphia. And I think that is mostly it. I couldn’t tell what wristwatch is in the film, but that could have been a good product placement if it was more explicit. I think this is closest to a Good film.
This is a rare time when I have to say Ebert is totally right. How could I make this film better? I kind of can’t. Because it is what it is. It set out to be a thing, and it is that thing. One of the main issues is how overtly they advertised it as a comedy (when it is barely that) and how much Faison and Bey feature in the trailer (when they are in the film for maybe 30 minutes total). So in a way it is all that other stuff that isn’t the movie that would make the most sense to change.