Main cast: Chris Rock (Lance Barton), Regina King (Sontee), Chazz Palminteri (King), Eugene Levy (Keyes), Frankie Faison (Whitney Daniels), Mark Addy (Cisco), Greg Germann (Sklar), Jennifer Coolidge (Mrs Wellington), Wanda Sykes (Wanda), and John Cho (Phil Quon)
Directors: Chris and Paul Weitz
It’s hard to believe that the directors of that apple-pie-love-affair and topless-Internet-nudie-show movie American Pie and a foul-mouthed actor like Chris Rock can create a dull, contrived movie like Down to Earth.
Being a Chris Rock movie, this one is naturally a white-people-can’t-laugh-or-dance black superiority movie. But by doing this in PG-rated humor-free style, the final product is more insulting and condescending than a slew of racist, ethnic jokes. At least the ethnic jokes could have been funny.
Chris Rock plays Lance Barton, a comedian who dies as a result of an inept angel (Keyes) bungling things up. To make things up to Lance, the head angel King offers Lance temporary residence in a new body, one belonging to Charles Wellington, 100% Anglo-Saxon and 1,000,000 bucks rich. It’s a 50-50 trade-off. But things get complicated when Lance tries to get his gal Sontee.
This movie is full of tired, predictable elements. Like, yo yo yo, you got those money, why not give them to worthy causes, yes? White businessman are so money-minded, bah. Lance soon gives his overworked minority staff fur coats, implements communist strategies in his new company while his white and clueless underlings gape, and ah, the romance between Lance and Sontee. Sontee, who advocates putting the money out for “good causes”, unlike Wellington’s adulterous wife and his corrupt assistant Sklar.
Oh, and white men going “Yo, yo, yo shake dat thang!” in fake gangsta-style is supposed to be funny. Yeah, like in 1991.
Down to Earth isn’t as bad as it’s boring and shockingly preachy. Make more movies like this, and Chris Rock’s acting career may indeed go down to earth like a meteorite.