Down to Earth

Bomb Rating: 

Try to imagine the sort of stupidity it would take to conceive of this idea: Let's take a huge chunk of Chris Rock's stand-up comedy and make a movie out of it, but instead of just doing a concert film, we'll take a whole bunch of his gags and splice them into "Heaven Can Wait." Rock will play the Warren Beatty character, with the twist that he's an aspiring stand-up comedian who dies and comes back to Earth in a different body.

It was incredibly painful to watch this film and realize how much less painful it would have been were directors Paul and Chris ("American Pie") Weitz content to do a Chris Rock comedy concert film. At least that way, these two idiots could have just left the camera in one place and not worried about anything having to do with narrative, which apparently comes as easily to them as the English language does to German shepherds.

Rock plays wannabe comedian Lance Barton, who dies and comes back down to Earth in the body of a super-rich old white guy. Apparently, somebody thought it would be funny if Rock acted like Rock while in this guy's body. The only problem is that the Weitz brothers are too cowed to convey this at all in the movie. Not only do we only see Rock as Rock, but the whole premise is so inept that the other characters pretty much react to him as though he's Chris Rock. Once in a blue moon, the Weitz brothers will toss in a quick shot of the old white guy to remind us that Rock is really supposed to be in the guy's body.

This movie plays like it was shot in an afternoon, using a script conceived that morning. Chris Rock isn't an actor to begin with, but it seems that whatever coaching he got on this fiasco consisted of one word: Smile. No matter what the situation, that's all he's doing. He looks like the Joker from "Batman." This film wasn't just bad; it was depressing. I sat in my seat, squirming around, begging whatever God might exist to stop torturing me. You know what? The torture is still lingering. There is no God.

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