Down To Earth

"Bad"

Down To Earth Review


There are times when a remake feels more like a ripoff. The Chris Rock comedy Down to Earth is a perfect example. Based on... no, xeroxed from 1978's Heaven Can Wait, it's a string of dull fish-out-of-water scenes held together by someone else's script.

The "someone else", in this case, are Elaine May and Warren Beatty, screenwriters of that earlier romantic comedy, which itself was a remake of 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan. But Beatty and May crafted a fresh story with a modern update and some sex appeal, while paying homage to the old version. Down to Earth is just a much weaker version of the same movie.

Rock plays Lance Barton, a bike messenger dying for his big break as a stand-up comic -- literally dying, when he's hit by a truck and whisked up to heaven prematurely. Needing to be back on earth for an audition at the Apollo... wait, why waste time with plot description? Look, it's Heaven Can Wait.

Every single character is duplicated from Heaven Can Wait, as are most situations, all with very little new creativity. The one aspect with a chance of setting the film apart -- racial differences, as Lance takes over the body of a rich, white guy -- shows up only in lame, surface laughs. Example: Lance, now wealthy, has the biggest TV screen in the world, but can't get BET.

The credits attribute the script to a team of four screenwriters (including Rock), but they must've been jokewriters, because they really had little to do with creating a story. In fact, the movie ends exactly as its predecessor does, almost down to the same dialogue (Beatty & May retain screen credits, by the way). The new guys are simply trying to put one over on a younger audience not familiar with Heaven.

The film is even technically unsound. Chris and Paul Weitz (producers of American Pie) direct like a pair of cadavers; the pace is stiff, the editing's choppy, and the actors look posed and uncomfortable. Rock does not yet have the skills to play a romantic lead, and his choice to do this one almost negates his ferocious performance in Nurse Betty.

In fact, Rock is at his best in the film when doing his thing: performing stand-up comedy or slinging a monologue. Hell, if that's what you want, turn on his HBO show or rent Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker. We know the man can bring smarts and laughs. Just not here.

Smaller and less black.



Down To Earth

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th February 2001

Box Office USA: $63.1M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Alphaville Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 77

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Lance Barton, as Sontee Jenkins, as King, as Keyes, as Whitney Daniels, as Sklar, as Mrs. Wellington, as Wanda, as Phil Quon, as Apollo M.C., Bryetta Calloway as Gospel Singer, Martha Chaves as Rosa, as Charles Wellington, III, Herb Lovelle as Trashman, as Cisco

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.