Don't get me wrong, I like Chris Rock the
comedian. But Chris Rock the comedic actor needs
quite a bit of work. Ironically, his character is
nicknamed "boo-y" in this rewrite of Warren Beatty's
"Heaven Can Wait."
A jumpy angel presumes Rock, a struggling
comedian, dead as a truck approaches Rock's bicycle.
Pulled from his body too soon, Rock pleads with
heaven's managing angel, "I am not dead, now get me a
new body, I've got an audition at the Apollo!" The
angel concedes that Rock's death was indeed
"untimely" and sets him up (temporarily) with the
body of an older rich white guy who had just been
killed by his wife's lover.
It's a fun story, decently updated with a strong
enough script. Unfortunately, nearly everyone in the
film outperforms the lead; most notably two character
actors - the butler and the maid. Chris is as stiff
as a rock; his awkward delivery never lets us enter
this wonderful world of make believe. Coupled with
occasional rickety editing, the production feels of a
less than average independent film.
That said, of course, a few humdingers slip
"She's so skinny, you two might just start a fire
"Your mom has so much hair under her arms - she looks
like she's got Buckwheat in a headlock."
Wonderful also, the first scene where Rock (as the
rich Charles Wellington) meets the butler. And, Rock
(as Wellingtion) stirs up the waters as well as the
intensity level of the film in a strong hospital
board meeting scene. Nicely done. One last touch,
Rock's first attempts at the Apollo result in boos so
Herculean they create a gale, his coat-pocket
handkerchief fluttering in its the wind.
A stronger lead could have pulled this picture
together. Additionally, the heart-stopping political
incorrectness of Rock speaking hood-talk from the
mouth of a rich white guy gave the film some of its
brawnier moments. The production would have benefited
by displaying the white Wellington (outside) more
often (juicing the contrast), instead of showing us
Rock (inside & out) nearly all the time.