Down To Earth
The story is adapted from “Heaven Can Wait” and features Chris Rock as an aspiring standup comic whose career is put on hold when he’s accidentally killed. I say on hold because he arrives in heaven with Eugene Levy (the bumbling angel who “took him” too soon) and is given to head angel Chazz Palminteri who chooses to reassign Rock to a body back on Earth. That body belongs to a white millionaire in his 60’s, Mr. Wellington, who has just been drowned by his unfaithful wife (Jennifer Coolidge) and corrupt partner (Greg Germann). Everyone who knows Mr. W, sees this millionaire cheapskate become a compassionate, kinder, nicer old man and several scenes are devoted to showing that. One of them involves the closing of a hospital and that’s where Regina King comes into the picture and falls in love with Mr. W. only we see it as Rock. When the time comes to switch to another body, the struggle to keep his true love gets complicated. Frankie Faison plays Rock’s manager and Wanda Syke plays the maid.
THE GOOD:…Honestly, the soundtrack is the best part of this movie. There are a few funny jokes and one liners from Rock, along with a couple of awkward scenes of him trying to be romantic. But they are so few, bad and far between, it ends up being anything BUT as funny and entertaining as “Heaven Can Wait” was and that’s what’s disappointing. THE NOT SO GOOD:… This is one of those comedies where you want to laugh and enjoy the quirky premise of a black man being trapped in a white man’s body because Rock makes that funny. But the script is written so poorly, Rock’s the only one with the funny lines and that’s painfully evident. There’s also the issue of Rock in a 60 year-olds body. When we hear him dialogue about topics and respond to characters as a black man in a white man’s body, it’s funny and the audience understands the joke. But it’s hard to fathom that a young, beautiful black woman with high ideals and intelligence, would be swept up off her feet and fall for an older white man in his 60’s just because he’s rich and turns generous doing a good deed for her. That part not only doesn’t make sense, it feels wrong, awkward and well…gross, when we see her kissing Rock but you know she’s supposed to be kissing the old man. This is not a racial issue at all. I’m talking about a situation that just doesn’t dignify the characters in context with who they are and what they’re doing. Actually, the scenes that show glimpses of the older man bobbing up and down to music, rapping a song in a restaurant and standing on stage doing Rock’s routine, are funnier because we see the old man doing it rather than showing Rock. Those scenes brought more laughs and unfortunately, probably would have made the movie funnier if they would have used a well-known actor to play that part. There are only a few laughs sprinkled in with a lot of awkward, crude and rude situations. Not worth exposing your children to, much less yourself.