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DOWN TO EARTH (PG-13)
Paramount Pictures
Official Site
Directors: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz
Producers: Sean Daniel, James Jacks, Michael Rotenberg
Written by: Chris Rock, Lance Crouther, Ali LeRoi, Louis C.K. (Elaine May and Warren Beatty, 1978, HEAVEN CAN WAIT)
Cast: Chris Rock, Regina King, Mark Addy, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Chazz Palminteri

Rating: out of 5


I remember when Chris Rock was the weasely kid with a high-top fade in Robert Townsend's HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE. His buck-toothed tirades, complemented by facial and finger contortions. lent an honest touch to his often-hilarious personal observations. Well, things haven't changed much, except that Rock is now given more of the spotlight in his own starring vehicles. Both points prove positive for the stand-up-comedian-turned-screen actor.

Rock's characters (he plays three) in DOWN TO EARTH all share a love for joke telling. When his first life is taken accidentally by the doddering guardian angel played by Levy, Rock is promised another chance at life inside a new body. Unfortunately for him, the most appealing body happens to be that of a money-grubbing 70-year-old white guy, who draws jeers from the real neighbors in his community. On top of this, his new wife and her lover are trying to kill him off for control of his millions, before he can make a boo-free appearance at the Apollo Theater's Amateur Night in Harlem.

As with old Saturday Night Live skits (i.e., Nat X), Rock's social commentary in DOWN TO EARTH forms the basis for plot and compounds to produce a morally gratifying conclusion from his own unique perspective. The great thing about his comic style, however, is that much of it is so universal and true. The screenplay, originally penned by Elaine May and Warren Beatty (HEAVEN CAN WAIT), preaches being one's self in a manner only the sharp-witted talent of Chris Rock could compose.

óMortimer Marker

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
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