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Movie Review

Down to Earth

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for language, sexual humor and some drug reference

Reviewed by: Dallas Shipp

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Romance Comedy
1 hr. 27 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 16, 2001
Down to Earth poster. Copyright 2001, Paramount Pictures.
Relevant Issues
Down to Earth

What are angels really like? Answer

Do you know the truth about…

Reincarnation: Does the Bible allow for this possibility? Answer

Homosexuality: What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

About Racism, Racial Issues Go

Featuring: Chris Rock, Chazz Palminteri, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Jennifer Coolidge
Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Producer: Jim Jacks, Michael Rotenberg, Sean Daniel
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

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.

Chris Rock in Down to Earth

“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.

Viewer Comments
Some people recommended this movie to me, stating that the movie was “clean.” Well, I must say I was disappointed. Yes, the movie was very humorous, but it was dirty humor, and for the most part I didn’t laugh. The acting was good, but the whole vulgarity killed any quality in the movie. The plot was different, but not wonderful. It had no moral plot, and in some scenes it showed heaven as something “Earthly” where God was like a Mafia Man, and the angel of death made a mistake and killed that man too fast, blah blah blah. Quite frankly the movie stunk. You want to waste your time, and fill your head with junk. Go see that movie. My opinion… not worth seeing at all. Especially us teenagers. It can have a bad effect.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1½]
Jewels, age 13
This movie was a big disappointment. I saw Chris Rock on TV talking about the movie saying it was good for the whole family. (Which family??) He said there was no cursing. I did view the movie before I took my daughter and I found it to be full of cursing and sexual scenes. (True Chris didn’t curse but everybody else did) …Poor script and production.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
Quincy Whitaker, age 30
We went to see this movie because the previews deceived us. They did not show signs of extremely offensive language or sex (which this movie is full of). There are very nasty and raunchy scenes (a pool table is used instead of a bed in one scene). White people are portrayed as all corrupt and sexual perverts without any ethics. There is a lot of racial discrimination even to spanish people. In a scene with two maids; one black, the other latino, the black maid says some choice swear words, along with derogatory things not only about the boss, but also the other Latino maid to her face. The Latino maid just nods (yes) and smiles, because she doesn’t know the language well enough to know she’s being insulted. In the scenes with the head angel in heaven, the “angel” Lance has a bad mouth and attitude and is quite rude. I would think he’d make a better representative of a fallen angel. Also the movie is blatantly reincarnation orientated. The head angel even states by the end of the movie that there is reincarnation. So the people that die at their appointed time, most of them, go to heaven, few hell. Our main character was taken by an angel before his time, an angelic mistake? I wish I never saw this movie. I don’t recommend it to anybody not even adults. This movie is Not for any age group of professing Christians.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1½]
Patricia Kozatek, age 43
One man goes to another man’s body. The man he replaces was dead so they are implying reincarnation. Heaven is pictured as a jazz club. There is a lot of sexual activity and inuendo, along with cussing. I didn’t enjoy this one at all.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
K.E, age 13
I just got done watching this flick. I was surprised to see that this Chris Rock movie was very descent. I was all laughs at the hilarious comedy!…
John Wilka, age 32
Movie Critics
…profanity consists of at least 12 “s” words, various other expletives and many colorful phrases …
…duplicated from Heaven Can Wait, as are most situations, all with very little new creativity…
Norm Schrager, Film Critic
…Lots of sexual innuendo, including references to homosexuality, a threesome, and flashing…
Kids In Mind
One of the worst movies I ever saw. It is crude, gross, filthy and offensive. On top of that,the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is taken in vain. The only thing I enjoyed was the popcorn.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
Jerry, age 48
Down to Earth was a waste of time. Heaven was featured as a club. There was a little to much cursing and not a good movie for kids under 15 should go and see. The movie was another Hollywood mistake.
My Ratings: [Somewhat Offensive / 1½]
Brian, age 15