Benny Boom’s Next Day Air


Benny Boom built his reputation directing music videos and commercials, and his first feature, Next Day Air, falls somewhere between the blunt-force visuals of the former and the focus-grouped formulas of the latter. What’s being sold in this skeletally plotted story of a drug shipment gone awry is not a hip-hop star (though a couple of them appear) or an energy drink, nor any debut directorial vision. Instead, Boom sells the viewer back to herself: “This is what you like,” the film’s mash of confidently broad laugh-lines, “lovably” repugnant characters, and abrupt plunges into violence suggest. The ensemble cast includes Donald Faison as a pothead deliveryman who mistakenly delivers a massive cocaine drop to two ineffectual thugs (Mike Epps and Wood Harris). When the Puerto Ricans next door start taking heat from their Mexican drug lord for the missing package, a sort of Keystone Cops sequence of events is set into motion. Except there are no cops, not much farcical energy, and none of the satiric edge it would take to pull off the film’s grim denouement. Next Day Air is a straight shot up the middle.

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