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Down To Earth

Reviewed by: Kyra Kirkwood
Genre: Comedy
Video: Anamorphic 1.85:1 Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, English 5.1 Surround, French Dolby Surround
Language: English. French
Subtitle: English
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 10, 2001
Studio: Paramount
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "A Look Inside" featurette
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: cast and crew interviews, including the Weitz brothers and Chris Rock.
Trailers/TV Spots: theatrical trailer
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: None
Cast and Crew: Chris Rock, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Regina King, Greg Germann
Screenplay by: Chris Rock, Lance Crouther, Allie Roi, Louis C.K.
Produced by: Sean Daniel, Michael Rotenberg, James Jacks
Directed By: Chris and Paul Weitz
Music: Eminem
The Review: This movie may not be as much of a hit as was their teen sex comedy "American Pie," but directors Chris and Paul Weitz give viewers a not-so-bad remake of the 1970's Warren Beatty classic "Heaven Can Wait." In "Down to Earth," Chris Rock, in his first starring role, plays Lance Barton, a down-on-his-luck comic who gets booed off stage and ends up flattened by a bus. Turns out, there's been a mix-up in heaven, and it wasn't Lance's turn to visit the pearly gates. So various heaven representatives (namely Palminteri, who plays Mr. King) try to find Lance's soul a suitable "holding spot" while they dig up a better body for the long haul. Well, this "holding spot" is the body of an ancient, grumpy, nasty old white man who's hated by everyone and rich as they get. Even his wife hates him! Rock really turns on his comedic genius when he's in his new body, and the result is an enjoyable hour and a half of Rock's wiseass wit. But he also showcases his acting ability-there's some romance and a couple of serious scenes thrown in for good measure. In fact, all the cast does a good job with this flick; it's obvious it was a fun movie to act in and produce. "Down to Earth" didn't get much play at the box office, despite the name recognition of the main star and the directors. But it's definitely worth a turn on the DVD player, even though the extras are a bit scarce.
Image and Sound The image looks great-just what you'd expect from a new-release DVD today. No dirt, obvious editing or strange-looking transfers. The sound is decent, as well. Considering "Down to Earth" isn't an action-packed thriller, there aren't many sound-threatening explosions to test the audio folks at the studio.
The Extras Like I said earlier, the extras are slim-pickings. We've got the standard fare: trailers, subtitles, interactive menus, scene selections. Of course, this is the bare minimum we expect from any disc out on the market today. But there is a decent little "behind-the-scenes" featurette called - "Down To Earth: A Look Inside." Interviewed are all the film's names, from Rock to the Weitz brothers, Regina King to Palminteri. It's worth a look, but it's nothing real jaw-dropping (i.e.-no big secrets revealed).
Commentary None
Final Words: It's a decent DVD, I must say. But watch it for the film, not for the extras. I'm surprised there wasn't more in terms of those, though. I mean, with Chris Rock on the set of a Weitz brothers' film, don't you think there would be a boat-load of outtakes and gags to slap onto a disc? Maybe then they'd have to create an unrated version. But who's complaining?

Send all Comments to Teakwood Productions
July 31, 2001