Reviewed by: Dallas Shipp
|Featuring:||Chris Rock, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Jennifer Coolidge|
|Director:||Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz|
|Producer:||Jim Jacks, Michael Rotenberg, Sean Daniel|
A wannabe comedian’s soul is taken from his body before he is supposed to die. As heaven isn’t ready for him, he is sent back to Earth in the body of the 15th richest man on Earth who everyone hates. Sound cute? A similar plot was incorporated in Warren Beatty’s smash “Heaven Can Wait”.
If there is something good to say about this film, it sure did have a good idea behind it. “Down to Earth” stars Chris Rock, a stand-up comedian with a stack of brief film appearances under his belt. In “Down to Earth”, his first leading role, Hollywood seems to have relied on him too much. They forgot to include a supporting cast! Rock ends up running a one man band, and he can’t even play a washboard! This film starts out like a perfect canvas. The painter places a hardly known actor in the center, and sprays the whole thing down with mud. He then places it in the national gallery and calls it a masterpiece! It is not so surprising that it actually made it into the theater, but I find it rather astounding that this film made 20 million dollars on its opening weekend. I have not a clue what people see in it, if they see anything. Rock was a sad excuse for a lead, and played his part in a humorless and ridiculous manner. He is a comedian without a punchline, and a major disappointment. No member of the supporting cast is worth mentioning. Rock hardly lets them talk, much less lets them steal some camera time. The biggest problem with “…Earth” is that it relies entirely on Rock’s tasteless comedy act to keep the film rolling. “Yo-Mamma” jokes, sexual humor, and degrading racial comments are hardly elements of comedy. Situations that could have been really funny were totally destroyed.
“Down to Earth” begins with Lance Barton (Chris Rock), a down-on-his-luck bike messenger who lives to perform stand-up-comedy on amateur night at the local theater. Although he is booed off the stage every time, his manager (Frankie Faison) still believes that his act still has potential. One night while riding home, Lance is hit by a truck and accidentally sent to heaven. Since he isn’t supposed to die until some time later on, Lance is sent back to Earth again and put into the body of a mean old rich man who leads a very stuck-up life. Lance immediately transforms the man’s trashy lifestyle to impress a young nurse (Regina King) he is in love with.
This film was filled with ugly attempts at humor, a monstrous amount of profanity, and truly worthless acting. I honestly cannot decide which was worse. It was rated PG-13 (There is a surprise.) for language and crude sexual humor. The profanity in “…Earth” was extremely offensive, with a dozen scatological profanities, a bleeped out f-word, over two dozen uses of mild and offensive anatomical references, nearly a dozen references to sex, a couple of references to drugs, and a large amount of other profanities. There is a large amount of degrading comments about women and black people in “Earth” as well.
This film had a high amount of offensive sexual material. Thankfully, there was no nudity. Two people make out several times with associated groping. A man is having a fling with another man’s wife. Sexual perversion is mentioned. A woman in a revealing outfit shakes her clothed rear at a man, and makes several references to sex.
The worst thing about this film is that I even went to see it. A positive newspaper review made me think it would be harmless. I was very wrong. “Down to Earth” isn’t worth the time or money. Skip it.