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This week:

Down to Earth

Filthy says:
"It fucking sucks."

What is worse: When Hollywood gives the reins to cocksuckers like Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler who don't even want to make a good movie, or when they give them to someone like Chris Rock, who aims high and misses by a mile? I'll take the second any day because I would much rather pay to see someone try and fail than endure another ass-reaming from Sandler and Dugan, the lazy, arrogant fuckers. Rock has talent and he works hard.

Having said that, Down to Earth is a bad fucking movie, man. It's not because of laziness or indifference, it's because the people behind it didn't have a fucking clue. The acting sucks, the writing sucks, the directing sucks.

In a remake of Heaven Can Wait, itself a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Chris Rock plays Lance Barton, a bad stand-up comic who gets hit by a truck after being distracted by Regina King. But, angel Eugene Levy fucked up. Rock isn't supposed to be dead, so Heaven decides to give him another body to inhabit. Problem is, it's the body of a stodgy, cutthroat, white billionaire (tee-hee). This leads to a long series of two of the least funny types of jokes. "White people and black people are different." Ha ha. "Rich capitalist fucks are jerks and poor people are saints." Guffaw. Jesus Squatting in the Woods Christ, you couldn't find more obvious premises if you sat through an entire "Def Jam" Comedy Hour. And I don't think anyone wants to do that.

Once he is Mr. Beef Wellington, Rock learns that his company is about to close a hospital that King is fighting to keep open. It's never said why she does, it appears she's just a fucking busybody without a job. Rock saves the hospital and, as an old white guy, romances King, winning her heart in about one night. Along the way, he learns how to be truly funny because he can't rely on his black body.

Chris Rock is a very funny man, but not here. He's funny when he's prickly and sour, railing against injustice and making fun of whiners and complainers, like in Nurse Betty. As a romantic lead in a sappy, weak comedy, though, his performance is the least believable I've seen since Mrs. Filthy claimed the dogs ate my half-gallon of Rocky Road. Rock sucks the fur right off a cat's ass. He's all teeth and screaming and unbelievably dreadful double takes. I mean, he looks about as uncomfortable as a dog in a wheelbarrow, all twitchy, googly-eyed and looking for a way out.

Of course, his whole performance is based on us thinking he is a fat old white guy. He appears almost entirely as himself because nobody is going to pay to see Down to Earth starring some white guy you've never heard of. The directors wrongly assume we will imagine how funny a jive-talking white guy looks to other people while only showing us for about a minute.

The rest of the cast is equally fucking awful. King is so confused looking, somebody must have konked her on the head with a klieg light. This is partially because the writers didn't even bother to give her a character or a job. She's just a goddamn prop created by a group of guys afraid of women. The fuckers in charge even waste Eugene Levy. For fuck's sake, I think bad moviemakers now think putting Levy in their flicks give it some sort of hip cache. Never mind the guy is a fucking comic genius, because these writers have him do nothing. Oh, but he does wear a "funny" suit. (By the way, will somebody please make The Bobby Bittmann Story because that's a movie I will pay to see a million times.)

The script is pure, unstrained country-style shit. Country-style means it's chunky. Rock and his three comedy buddies rewrote Heaven Can Wait as a exposition-heavy, dull-paced vehicle for stand-up comedy bits. The problem is, it's not all stand-up. The comedy is stitched together by tedious, flat scene after scene of stiff people talking and talking. The writers aren't even sophisticated enough to have several people talk in a single scene, or to actually have something happen besides people talking.

Down to Earth is a movie where the main character has to keep asking what's going on, just so secondary characters can lug around the plot like heavy boulders. I fucking hate movies where characters keep asking questions to get the other characters to explain what the audience already knows. Usually, though, you only find writing this shitty in community college classes, not major motion pictures.

The Weitz Brothers, Chris and Paul, direct with either incredible disinterest or an inhuman lack of ability. These two fuckers wrote American Pie, and in the incestuous, greedy land of Hollywood, that movie's success gives them carte blanche to be bad directors. The studios don't look at credentials, they look at bottom lines. So, we get stuck with two jack-offs who made their cast act stiffer than a week-old corpse, and who let each joke drop like road apples from a horse's ass. Plop, plop, plop. They never mix it up, never vary their formula of having the people stand there while they talk. Oh, sure, there is one exciting scene where Rock and King walk while they talk, but otherwise, the only thing that changes from scene to scene is the furniture in the background.

One Finger for Down to Earth, an appallingly bad movie from a guy I thought knew better. Mr. Rock, stop listening to your entourage because you're getting soft and fat.

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