New movie “Down to Earth” down right awful

As far as good rental movies go, you can add Down to Earth, the latest string of bad movies r released to theaters, to the list.The movie stars a defanged Chris Rock in the role of Lance Barton, a struggling comedian vying for a major spot at the Apollo and a bicycle messenger who suffers a premature death because an angel in training (the always funny Eugene Levy) made a mistake. The head angel of Heaven, played by Chazz Palminteri, makes amends by garnering Barton a new body (which happens to a 50-something white billionaire industrialist names Charles Wellington III).Down to Earth is an almost blow-by-blow remake of the 1978 Warren Beatty film Heaven Can Wait (which is itself a remake of the 1941 Here Comes Mr. Jordan). Which leads to the bigger question at hand: How many times can you remake a movie before it gets stale? The answer, unfortunately, lies in this wan effort.Most of the humor lies in watching the old, unhip man groove to the beat of Bartons drum. He astonishes those around him by adapting Bartons slang, watching the BET channel, dancing to hip-hop and telling jokes about black culture in his stand-up routines. However, we are only given a glimpse of the man.Most the time we are looking at Barton (affectionately known as Booey because of his stand-up failures). Booey gets to inhabit this body for a while because the girl he was looking at when he got killed (an uninspired Regina King) is trying to get the tycoon to change his mind about shutting down a local hospital for the underprivileged.This is where the romantic aspect of the movie kicks in. But few sparks fly between the two. Shes a sweet girl, and normally a good actress, but the material she is working with doesnt do her justice. The weak supporting performance doesnt end here though. The role of Wellingtons evil wife, which earned Dyan Cannon an Oscar nomination in 1978, is recreated uninterestingly by Jennifer Coolidge. Greg Germann, Wellingtons assistant, simply recreates his character on Ally McBeal (something he does for almost every role hes in).Down to Earth was written and directed by Chris and Paul Wetz, the guys behind the 1999 hilarious gross-out extravaganza, American Pie. Their lackluster effort to recreate an acceptable sequel of a sequel shines through the watered-down plot, weak dialogue and bland supporting performances.The only saving grace is the fact that Rock is hilarious. Hes not exactly an Oscar-caliber actor, but you shouldnt expect him to be. Generally, hes been great in his supporting roles, such as Dogma and the wildly underrated Nurse Betty.Unfortunately, he proves he cant really carry the lead in a movie. Not in this one anyway. Rock plays a comic, so the movie, of course, has its humorous moments, although oddly enough, hes funnier as Wellington. Even when he is cracking up the audience at the Apollo, hes mediocre at best. If you are a Rock fan, youve no doubt heard some of his riff before. The dialogue from a few scenes (namely, the one where Barton turns Wellington into the good guy) is lifted from his concert performances.While its not a good movie by any means, it isnt a complete waste of time. Its just too tame for a Rock movie, for most tastes anyway.If youre not a Rock fan, stay away. Stay far away.

Leave a Reply