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Down To Earth: Review
Directed By: Chris and Paul Weitz
Starring: Chris Rock, Eugene Levy, Regina King, Chazz Palminteri, Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Coolidge and Mark Addy.
Down To Earth tries to go where so many have gone before so when it does pull laughs it is a nice surprise but the real treat is that though this film is nothing to rally around, it is at least, an inoffensive little waste of time.
Chris Rock executive produced his way through this one and there were some smart decisions made right off the top. Bringing in Chris and Paul Weitz to direct while basing this 'urban' comedy on Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait (in turn, based on Here Comes Mr. Jordan) were all good ideas, but some of the best moves were in the supporting cast decisions.
Into the plot quickly, as this is a remake of a remake. Chris Rock plays Lance Barton, bike courier and aspiring stand-up. He gets ploughed down by a Mack truck and no more Lance. Well, not really because he was taken just a trifle early by Keyes (Eugene Levy). Once in heaven they realize the mistake is made and King (Chazz Palminteri) makes a deal with Lance, he can return to Earth in another person's body until they find a suitable host for a permanent lodging. Lance inevitably finds himself forced to take over the body of Charles Wellington the III so he can get close to his 'soulmate' Sontee Jenkins (Regina King).
First off, Wanda Sykes, playing Wanda the housemaid who hates her boss Charles Wellington, gets some of the best lines due to her spite for the old man. But even then her anger is not blind rage, just harmless one-liners that only cut in a verbal sense. The fact is, most of the movie is like this, it never gets into a spiralling downbeat...it keeps a pretty cheerful constant even when someone is getting knocked off.
Another solid idea was making heaven appear to be the rat-pack's dream...Vegas in the sky. Everybody in blue suits, drinks all around and beautiful women wandering around in gorgeous gowns. A heaven one can look forward to.
Chris Rock plays Chris Rock to a tee and while I wonder how he may ever grow into a full-fledged actor, a part of me really doesn't care. I like Chris Rock, I love his hard core energetic stand up, and I don't seem to mind this watered down but oddly cheerful version of him either. Besides his rift on how the policy will change at the hospital he (Wellington the III) owns has some truly funny lines as well as a later piece of stand up he does at a club.
"When I was little, we were so poor, after we'd go to sleep at night, my daddy would unplug the clocks!" - Chris Rock as Charles Wellington the Third.
Not quite up to snuff when compared to either of the earlier version, but for those who haven't seen either, this is not a bad way to get introduced to them. Just make sure you do look back to the past, and check out the two previous versions as they are all different enough to stand on their own.
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Exclusive Cast & Crew Interviews
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround
The DVD Review:
Be careful on this title...a lot of sites are saying that it features a selection of deleted scenes, unless this is an easter egg of some sort, I didn't find them on the disc.
The short featurette on the making of the film is little more than a brief selection of interviews with scenes from the movie. A typical knock off piece that might have been used to sell the movie to theatre owners. Very little to learn from it as it is more of a propaganda piece.
All in all, weak on the special features but a harmless waste of time movie. I wouldn't rush out and buy it, but if you are a HUGE Chris Rock fan then this can sit up on the shelf beside his two great stand-up tapes.