Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Next Day Air" (2009) - Movie Review

In the slim and thin ice of crime comedy is the danger of flipping into a story straightly said with no laughs, not even a smile. That is “Next Day Air”, a film which some how saw the light of being in front of the camera. There is not a character we become a favourite of and there is not a mannerism you just enjoy watching them do again and again. All that exists is a desperate try to achieve those. Result is that the people seem not to be either too stupid to be laughed nor too dangerous and high on the edge to be scared of. It is the blandest comedy one could get and come out with nothing but a near hour and half melting reminder of the time and not the characters.

Welcome to another film still in the shadows of Guy Ritchie’s cult flicks who then again resembled from the works of Quentin Tarantino. Brody (Mike Epps) and Guch (Wood Harris) are the small time crooks locking their miniscule brains in to the microwave of their house to rob a bank. Brody hardly listens to what Guch says which is supposed to be the running gag not in the present but in the flashing past of their series of mishandling they tried out. They get their hands on drugs delivered wrongly by a UPS kind of company Next Day Air. The lazy high employee is Leo (Donald Faison) supposed to be the innocent in this whole mess to be rewarded in the end. See how much of “supposed” I used, which tells the fiasco of this film.

I am having hard time to revisit the movie to fetch some of the glowing bits. The acting blatantly is far from professional. With Donald Faison in a different outfit than his scrubs from TV series, his character is an amped up R-rated Turk. There is a consistent hunt for a punch line in these crooks. Where the characters being the essence of the originality in films like these, the people in this film try to be some one from the film they saw growing up. Thus it is merely a show off and a constant awareness of them being cool, stupidly cool and dangerously stupid. We get a little bit of everything and whole lot of unoriginality as the film wraps up thankfully fast enough for a lagging film.

We all should have seen the three cards having its face down shuffled by the street man to guess the desired card to win the gamble. Films like this work that way of course not the manipulating con effect in real life to be played. But played in the form of entertainment and coming out appreciating the way we were played. The fun of how the man kept shuffling at a speed and ambidexterity to make it worth for seeing him do that. And in “Next Day Air”, the cards simply stays there and we are staring at the man indifferently. In this case director Benny Boom’s eyes on wondering when will he make the move. He looks at us thinking that it is a cool posture he has and we walk away shaking our heads.

If the acting were a terrible display, then the screenplay should have had special botchy colours to impress the studio. Some how Blair Cobbs sold his story and how he did it is the curious question more than the drugs and money which gets handled in the film. The film is not a show of horrible attempts on jokes hitting the walls but the lethargic attitude of not even trying to. There is Mos Def as Eric, the fellow employee of Leo who has no business in the film. He is neither funny nor a catalyst in providing a twist. Then there is a guy sleeping and the third accomplice for Brody and Guch being there as a scare tactic and nothing else. We do not fear that guy rather forget his existence in the film.

The only scary act and a possible development was the drug lord Bodega (Emilio Rivera) and he is busy burning cigars at people’s faces. Writing is a tough process, that is something I could say without an air of attitude. Writing a short story or screenplay has a greatest enemy, that is the authors themselves. I would try to write and read it back to be horribly disappointed at the poor quality of being smart and trying hard. There is a block delete happening without fail after every attempt. To beat the self analytical criticality is half the battle to begin writing. But some times the writing itself is bad that it got to be deleted. Blair Cobbs should have let his self critic take control for “Next Day Air” and start afresh getting up out of the couch and running without rest.

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