Down To Earth
**.7 GM
Starring: Chris Rock, Regina King, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Mark Addy, Greg Germann, Jennifer Coolidge


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As much as I love Chris Rock, the guy can't act. At least not in the movies I've seen him in lately. He did a great job on his TV show playing weird-ass taxicab drivers messing with people's heads, but when it comes to playing a guy that isn't yelling some comedic rant/observations, he makes you wish he was yelling some comedic rant/observations.

It's a funny concept - Chris Rock as a struggling black comic that dies too soon and is reincarnated as an old rich honky temporarily until a suitable replacement body can be found, and has wacky hijinks saying things Chris Rock can get away with saying that old rich honkys can't. The 'struggling comedian' angle lets him work in a lot of semi-autobiographical stuff, as well as scenes that allow him to shine doing what he does best - talkin' shit on the mic. But when neither the stand-up nor the 'old honky with Rock's attitude' bits are going on, the movie starts to feel like one of those patched-together films trying to fill in the downtime between gag ideas. Guess you can expect that sort of thing when you've got four screenwriters attempting to rewrite an old Warren Beatty movie.

One of the most obvious ways the film falls into the standard 'iffy comedy' trap is that it features a love interest that is pretty much just 'an objective to be achieved' as opposed to giving her any real depth to her personality. Regina King just plays 'the woman that must be won over,' as if there's ever any real doubt that's going to happen.

Chazz Palminteri and Eugene Levy provide some able backup, but it's Rock's film to carry, and he turns out to be hit or miss in the lead role - hitting when he's doing what he's famous for, but tending to miss most of the rest of the time, save when he's cracking jokes off-stage that COULD be in his act. Fortunately, there's enough of that to buoy the film when it threatens to drag, and it makes it fun to watch overall.

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