The Reel Review

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Who wants to take an eco-tourism trip with super sexy film star Zac Efron? This Netflix docuseries tags along with the 32-year-old star of The Greatest Showman and Baywatch and his buddy, wellness guru Darin Olien, as they travel to exotic locales around the planet. There, they check out popular tourist sites, sample locally-sourced cuisine and learn about sustainable, eco-friendly solutions for food, water and energy production in the process.

Zac Efron enjoying Iceland’s Blue Lagoon in Down to Earth with Zac Efron.

The eight, 30-to-45 minute episodes, to such destinations as Iceland, France, Costa Rica and Peru, explore topics like geothermal energy, the benefits of mineral water, and potato cryopreservation.  The breezy series, however, keeps its educational lessons brief and very light, blending them with the infectious charm and likable silliness of its two bro-tastic tourists.

Darin and Zac learn about the popularity of rutabagas and reindeer at one of Iceland’s premier restaurants.

If you are watching Down to Earth with Zac Efron genuinely to learn about sustainability and the environment you probably will be disappointed. Topics are very rudimentary and are checked off like an unfocused (but fun!) ADD-infused laundry list. But if you are watching to see Zac and Darin frolic shirtless in beautiful exotic settings with a mild nod to all things eco, than this is the show for you. To that regard, the first episode, in Iceland, is a winner. Down to Earth with Zac Efron is a fun, entertaining, and at times, informative series.

REEL FACTS

Eliza Coupe and Darin Olien

• Darin Olien travels the globe in his quest to find underutilized superfoods and medicinal cures. Efron asked Olien to do this series after hearing him speak on a podcast. Olien was previously married to actress Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings, Scrubs).

• Per experts (and as discussed in Episode Two), it is unhealthy to drink “pure,” ultra-filtered water. The human body needs minerals and if you drink purified water it will actually pull minerals FROM your body.

Zac Efron in Papua New Guinea in December 2019

• In December 2019, Zac Efron contracted a serious and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection while filming his Quibi adventure series Killing Zac Efron in Papua New Guinea. It did not kill him and he recovered in time to return home on Christmas Eve.

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