A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although the trailers for this movie make it seem like a comic caper, it's actually a violent film that earns its R rating. There's a huge stand-off where all the major players shoot at each other -- and most of them die. Scenes also show a character being tortured and/or killed and others being threatened at gun and knife point. Characters swear constantly ("f--k" is used more times than you can count), smoke cigarettes and weed, and even snort cocaine. And then there's the scene in which two women undress (one is shown topless) and kiss each other. (At least the consumerism is limited to one character's fixation on Cadillac Escalades.)
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What's the story?
Leo (Scrubs star Donald Faison) is a Philadelphia express-mail carrier who's so high on marijuana that he mistakenly delivers an important package to two small-time hustlers. The box, naturally, contains 10 bricks of high-grade cocaine, which petty robbers Guch (Wood Harris) and Brody (Mike Epps) decide to keep and sell for themselves. Meanwhile, a Puerto Rican druglord called Bodega (Emilio Rivera) demands to know why his product hasn't been received by his Philly seller, a hilariously Napoleonic dealer named Jesus (Cisco Reyes), and his feisty, statuesque girlfriend, Chita (Yasmin Deliz). With the package tracked as "delivered," hotheaded Bodega doesn't believe Jesus' story that he hasn't gotten the drugs, so he sets out to find his box by all means necessary.
Is it any good?
NEXT DAY AIR's trigger-happy scenes effectively kill the comedy. First-time feature director Benny Boom and writer Blair Cobbs have made an urban homage to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, but their films, unlike this one, expertly mix humor and violence. This movie's a waste of talent that includes the entertaining Mos Def and Harris, whose amazing work as a Baltimore drug kingpin on HBO's The Wire seems far, far behind him. Faison, for his part, seems to be channeling an idiot version of his lovable Doctor Turk.
Seeing yet another veteran of The Wire in a subpar flick begs the question of whether there will ever be another creative vehicle for a minority cast that doesn't devolve into caricature -- like Deliz's Chita, who wears tight clothes and practices Santeria, or Epps' Escalade-obsessed thug. The newbie filmmakers get extra points for effort -- especially for attempting the always-hard-to-pull-off "Mexican stand-off" -- but the result is just C-level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie depicts minorities. Is it stereotypical and/or offensive that all the criminals are Latino and African American? Do you think any of the characters are intended to be role models? Families can also discuss how humor is handled in the movie. Are there more jokes or more violence? Does the movie's tone affect the impact of the violence? Parents may also want to discuss the casual drug use among the characters. What are the consequences of drug use in real life?
- In theaters: May 8, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: September 15, 2009
- Cast: Donald Faison, Mike Epps, Wood Harris
- Director: Benny Boom
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language, drug content, some violence and brief sexuality
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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