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Down to Earth (2001)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: February 14, 2001
Director: Paul and Chris Weitz
Writer: Chris Rock, Lance Crouther, Ali LeRoi, Louis C.K.
Producers: Sean Daniel, James Jacks, Michael Rotenberg
Actors:
Chris Rock
Regina King
Chazz Palminteri
Plot:
A black stand-up comic dies before he's supposed to and given another chance to re-enter the world inside another person's body. The comedian chooses a really rich old white guy and proceeds to lead his own life within the skin of this other man. Hi-jinx ensue?
Critique:
A disappointment. A decent premise and Chris Rock "lite" is all we get in a movie that will most likely vanish from your mind as you shuffle your way out of the theatre. One MAJOR problem that I had with this movie (and this is gonna sound weird...) was the fact that not enough of the rich old white guy was shown! Uhhhm, and what exactly do I mean by that? Well, if you read the plot line of the film above, it's actually pretty simple. Chris Rock dies and comes back inside the body of a rich, old, fat white guy (sounds funny, right?), but when we see him on the screen (as the white guy), he still looks and acts like Chris Rock. Uhhhmm...okay? Well, isn't the whole idea of the rich old white guy "acting" and talking like Chris Rock supposed to be the punch line? Yeah, I think so. Isn't THAT supposed to be the whole "hook" of the film...the funny aspect? Yup. Well, unfortunately the filmmakers decided to show us Rock during the majority of the movie (even when he's in other people's bodies), so the only humor that's left is Rock's own schtick. Of course, being a fan of the man, I enjoy most of his stuff, but watered down as it is in this film, it's not the Rock we all know and love. Phew...okay, that was my first problem with the movie...my second problem was...just kidding!

It's also weird to see how diluted this film is, especially since Rock is pretty well known as a life-time member of the foul-mouthed humor club and the directors of this movie, Paul and Chris Weitz, the guys behind the over-the-top gross and successful teen comedy, AMERICAN PIE (7/10). Put them together and expect fireworks, right? Well, sadly...you'd be wrong! All we're left with here is this light, really, really short movie (I think it might be 80-85 minutes long!) which I honestly can't recommend anyone spending their hard-earned dollars on. Sure, you could check it out on video, since there are actually a few laugh-out loud moments in here (mostly when they show the old white guy acting like Chris Rock...natch!) and even some funny stand-up by Rock (although I'm pretty sure that I'd heard most of the stuff before), but the overall product is simply not worth writing home about. Overall, I would say that this movie is not a mess per se, but definitely not the vehicle which we were all expecting to take Chris Rock to the next step in the stratosphere of the business we call show. Hopefully, he won't pull a "Murphy" on us after that, and just do a bunch of generic "kiddie flicks" with fart jokes for big money, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Keep it real, you bastard...for the love of God...we lost one and we certainly don't wanna lose another! Keep it real and find something funnier than this predictable and uninspired shtuff.

BTW, if you're not even a Chris Rock fan in the first place (which I am), I doubt you'll even appreciate half the stuff that I did. Skip it altogether. And I never thought I'd say this about any movie but for God's sakes...where was the profanity!?! This is a movie starring Chris Rock, people...not Mr. Rogers! Another miscalculation, I suppose.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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