The film delivery guy doesn’t get many props, does he? That’s right. The guy who delivers the reels of film to various movie houses is kind of like the unsung hero of cinema – the reels don’t get to the movie house on time, then the fuckin’ movie doesn’t play – goony google. But then again, in the U.S., the business of show is more important than, say, taking care of the needy, so you’d be hard-pressed to ever be turned away at a movie theater because the film hasn’t shown up yet. However, in Indonesia, the location of this story, the several reels of one single film are shared between a couple of different movie houses, so it’s up to a courier to transport the reels back and forth between the theaters in time so that the audience isn’t left with an unwanted intermission as the projectionist awaits the next reel.. Meet Joni. He is one such courier and he takes his job very seriously.
Joni is a happy-go-lucky 22-year-old guy who loves his job transporting film reels around town. He’s never let an audience down and he would never mean to do such a thing. But today, as the film begins, things are a little different. Joni has never been in a romantic relationship, but he sees a young lady at one of the cinemas he’s delivering to and he is immediately obsessed with her. He decides that he is going to make a move, despite that she has a boyfriend with her, but a boyfriend that’s a total, blatant jerk. The move is cute and innocent, he just strikes up some basic conversation with her. Wanting to know her name, she makes a playful deal with him – if he delivers all of the reels of film on time during her showing so that there’s no unwelcome intermission, then she’ll reveal her name. The challenge is accepted without a worry as Joni’s delivery record is impeccable.
Of course, this is a movie, so things go wrong left and right. First, being such a girly swat, he gets his bike stolen as he helps a blind man across the street. Then, he gets his film reel stolen as he tries to break up an attempted mugging. And it just gets worse from there, but just a little worse. And that’s the problem with this film. The set-up is great, you can go anywhere with this premise, the sky’s the limit. But the misadventures that Joni runs into are so pedestrian and uncreative that you want to gag. This is like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” without anything really cool happening. While watching “Joni’s Promise,” you’ll see that there’s a lot of heart that went into this production, but unfortunately the supply of good ideas was a very shallow, dry well to draw from.