Next Day Air is a crime film that, while not a direct remake of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, it feels inspired by it and other comedic crime films. Unfortunately, there’s not much that’s novel here beyond the fact that, for once, we get a crime film that features no Irish, Italian, English or redneck criminals, just Latino and African-American ones. The plot you’ve surely seen before: someone gets their hands on some “merchandise” that doesn’t belong to them via a mistake, and soon the original owners, the people who were supposed to get the merchandise, and the people brought in to handle the merchandise are all converging on a single point, and exactly who owns the MacGuffin won’t be resolved with a quiet discussion. In this case, the MacGuffin is 10 bricks of cocaine, sent by Mexican drug lord Bodega (Emilio Rivera, Traffic) from L.A. to Jesus (Cisco Reyes) in Philly. Unfortunately, pothead deliveryman Leo (Donald Faison, Clueless), delivers the box to the Brody (Mike Epps, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and Guch (Wood Harris, The Wire), who are comically inept bank robbers. Bodega believes Jesus is lying to him about missing the package, so he grabs his goon Rhino (Lobo Sebastian, Ghosts of Mars) and heads to Philly to straighten things up, while Jesus and his girl Chita (Yasmin Deliz) try to find Leo. Brody and Guch, meanwhile, contact Brody’s cousin Shavoo (Omari Hardwick, Miracle at St. Anna), a dealer who handles large volumes of cocaine. Soon everyone is converging on the apartment for a major showdown….
Next Day Air isn’t a bad movie, by any means, but it is a very routine one. The biggest weakness of the film is that the “comedy” isn’t all that funny, especially when it tries to sell people getting tortured and/or beaten as comedic. Faison and Mos Def (Monster’s Ball) get some laughs as delivery guys in over-their-heads, and the rest of the cast hit the right notes, but the film remains routine throughout. Omari Hardwick (and his sidekick, played by Darius McCray from Family Matters, who refuses to tell anyone his name is Buddy) stands out as the odd Shavoo, who is trying to put on a front of being a big time dealer but only has $200,000 saved up after years in the game. Next Day Air is worth checking out for anyone who is a huge fan of any of the actors involved, but otherwise need not be sought out.