Volume 93, Issue 94

Tuesday, March 28, 2000


Here on Earth has no place on Earth

Teen flick missing what it takes

Special effects keep Romeo alive

Valvola rework organic electronica

Here on Earth has no place on Earth

Gazette file photo
AND THE OSCAR FOR BIGGEST STEAMING PILE OF TEENAGE CRAP GOES TO... Chris Klein and Leelee Sobieski (coughHelen-Huntcough) star in Here on Earth, whcih is clearly a nod to the genius of Stanley Kubrick.

By Tara Dermastja
Gazette Staff

In teen melodrama, the difference between a success and a flop can be staggering.

Here On Earth, along with several of its predecessors, only lowers the bar further. This is unfortunate, since it might have been a decent movie, given that it features some well-known actors and a promising plot.

Boarding school jock Kelley (Chris Klein), takes his new Mercedes convertible out for a spin to the local town diner, where he flirts with Sam, a waitress played by Leelee Sobieski. This courting proves costly, as it results in a drag race with her jealous boyfriend Jasper (Josh Hartnett) – their subsequent crash ends up burning down the diner.

The two immature boys are sentenced to a summer of rebuilding what they destroyed and Sam starts spending more and more time with Kelley. Some people just can't get enough of this inane rich kid/poor kid falling-in-love scenario. And since geek-to-chic tales and teen romances are the norm this year, this probably won't be the last of the bunch.

The biggest problem with this film is its sheer lack of plot development. While some moments have promise, the majority of Here On Earth drags.

Michael Seitzman's screenplay is choppy, the characters are unbalanced and the acting is strictly B-quality. Up-and-comer Sobieski (Eyes Wide Shut, Never Been Kissed) is bland and uninteresting, delivering her lines in a manner which suggests that she's waiting for a better script to come along. Klein (American Pie's sensitive choirboy) also fails, coming across more like a narcissistic actor than a believable character.

The only passable acting is provided by Hartnett (The Faculty) as Sam's longtime beau who slowly disappears into the background as the movie advances. Jasper, a farmer, evolves from an overprotective boyfriend into an unselfish friend that viewers can't help but pity.

Additional appearances by Michael Rooker and Bruce Greenwood (as the parents of Jasper and Sam respectively) provide some needed variance, but it's apparent that nothing other than a script re-write or a different cast could have saved Here On Earth from becoming a five day rental.

In fact, in over one hour and 50 minutes, there is only about five minutes of entertainment – unless multiple Robert Frost quotes qualify. The only redeeming comedic moment features Kelley getting drunk from a couple of beers and dancing awkwardly for an audience of cows.

Some enjoyable music and a few tear-jerking scenes notwithstanding, director Mark Piznarski has failed at creating anything even approaching entertainment. Anyone annoyed by the prospect of young teens squealing at the sight of a barechested Klein should be wary.

All in all, Here On Earth is a colossal waste of time and money and if it were 15 seconds long, viewers would leave the theatre just as disappointed.

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