A clairvoyant thinks she's met her husband to be because she's seen him in her dreams. They marry quickly, and return to the husband's ("the butcher"), home in the city. She has a big ... See full summary »
Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts.
It seems everyone is trying to get into heaven; at least those whose time is up. For Lance Barton, a struggling comedian and bicycle messenger, it's the last thing on his mind. His due date upstairs is 50 years away. In the meantime, he's got big dreams to pursue on Earth, such as landing a slot at the final Amateur Night Contest at the famed Apollo Theatre. Lance's has one little problem though - he ain't that funny. Thanks to an over-cautious emissary from heaven, Mr. Keyes, he's going to get hit (literally) with a much bigger problem. Showing that even God has difficulty finding good help these days, the inept minion mistakenly plucks Lance from a traffic accident - before it takes place. Transporting him to the Pearly Gates, or more accurately, the velvet roped-lines of the hottest club around, the error is finally addressed by Mr. King, the streetwise, no-nonsense head angel who manages the place from his plush windowed office. Since returning to his own body on Earth is ... Written by
"Heaven Can Wait", the 1978 film starring Warren Beatty, is a remake of 1941's "Here Comes Mr. Jordan". 2001's "Down to Earth" is another remake of the same movie. I saw the 1978 version in 2006 and again the following year, but still haven't seen the original, though I certainly still intend to. I rented this most recent film of the three without knowing it was a remake, but knowing that the starring role was played by Chris Rock. Not every film I've seen the comedian in is very good, but I have seen him in some funny ones, such as "Lethal Weapon 4" and "Dogma". Knowing that "Down to Earth" didn't have a very good reputation, I didn't think it would be funny, but found it to be an above average comedy, which I wasn't expecting.
Lance Barton is a struggling comedian who unfortunately isn't very funny onstage, due to his stage fright. When his manager, Whitney Daniels, tells him that the Apollo Theater is about to have its final Amateur Night contest before closing down, Lance is determined to land a slot at this show. However, while riding his bike at night, he is distracted by a woman on the street and doesn't see an oncoming truck until it's too late! An angel named Mr. Keyes takes him up to heaven, but it turns that out it was not the comedian's time to die, so the head angel, Mr. King, takes him back to look for a different body to put him in, before anyone knows that the person is dead. After searching for a while, one of Lance's options is Charles Wellington, III, a billionaire tyrant who has just been murdered. Lance decides to temporarily take this body, until a more suitable body is found for him, and being a totally different person than what the businessman was before, this will obviously be an awkward experience!
After the intro of this film, we see Chris Rock as Lance Barton going on a rant as if he's been mistaken for a bicycle messenger, even though he really IS one, and this part certainly did make me laugh. I thought maybe this would be the funniest part, and the only one that would actually make me laugh, but I was wrong. While most of the movie isn't exactly laugh-out-loud, there were other times when I laughed, including Lance in the body of Charles Wellington, III doing his stand-up routine, and two scenes with Lance/Charles rapping in public. I also frequently smiled, and rock puts on a decent enough comedic performance to help with the humour. I didn't find Jennifer Coolidge as Mrs. Wellington very amusing, and the romantic scenes with Lance (in Charles' body) and the Sontee Jenkins character played by Regina King may be slightly flawed, but I didn't find anything in the film painfully bad (it's not an extremely juvenile gross-out comedy, you can be sure about that), and the story held my interest.
I know a lot of people strongly dislike/hate this movie, and that may include many Chris Rock fans, but despite all the criticism, I cannot give the film any rating lower than six out of ten. If you ask me, even a rating of seven just MIGHT not be excessively generous, even if most of those who have seen this particular 2001 comedy would strongly disagree! Also, coming from Paul and Chris Weitz, the directors of "American Pie" (a much more popular comedy, one which I think is sometimes funny but as a whole is quite overrated), I was expecting "Down to Earth" to be far more puerile and gross than it actually is! If you're a Chris Rock fan, I wouldn't expect this to be the funniest movie you'll ever see him in, but you could still find yourself laughing at least some of the gags (that is obviously NOT a guarantee). In my opinion, this film is definitely better than "Head of State", Rock's 2003 directorial debut.
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