Down To Earth Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Rock stars as Lance Barton, a fictitious African-American stand-up comedian who only wants two things: To reign supreme at the classic Harlem Apollo Theater Amateur Night contest, and get the attention of Sontee (Regina King), the girl he adores. But just when things begin to go his way, he forgets to look twice before crossing the street.
Getting hit by a truck wasn’t in Lance’s act, nor was it on the agenda in heaven. Apparently Mr. Keyes (Eugene Levy), the man responsible for bringing people “home” to heaven on time, was a little too early when he decided to take Lance’s spirit from the accident site. Appealing the mistake to Keyes’ boss, Mr. King (Chazz Palminteri), Lance manages to get a second chance—now he just needs a new body. Seeking a temporary alternative, King offers the body of Charles Wellington, a rich healthcare tycoon who has just been murdered by his two-timing wife and her lover. Lance is reluctant to accept the situation until Sontee walks in and demands to see Wellington about a hospital closure.
While we (the audience) usually see Lance as he really is, the rest of the world sees an old white guy driving a Rolls while grooving to the latest hip-hop and rap tunes. With his associates totally confused by his personality change, and his wife wondering why the poison didn’t take, there is great potential to not only generate comedy, but also provide enlightenment into racial prejudice. This is especially true when Lance continues to explore his stand-up routine of jokes poking fun at black life while wearing a white man’s body.
While this aspect of Down to Earth provides some important lessons to young viewers, many other elements, including sexual moments between Wellington’s wife and her boyfriend, frequent profanities, and comic violence illustrating how people die, make this anything but a heavenly experience. Some viewers may also take exception to the movie’s religious philosophies.
Based on the 1978 movie Heaven Can Wait, it’s unfortunate the creators included so many content concerns for families in this reincarnated title.Starring Chris Rock Eugene Levy. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release February 16, 2001. Updated May 4, 2009
Down To Earth
Rating & Content Info
Why is Down To Earth rated PG-13? Down To Earth is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language, sexual humor and some drug references.
Dealing with themes involving reincarnation, this movie’s best asset is helping audiences see what it is like to literally walk in another person’s shoes—in this case a young African-American who inherits the body of an older wealthy Caucasian. However, frequent sexual hijinks between a married woman and another man, scenes of violent deaths, and pounds of profanities are heaped upon this story.
Man is hit by truck—actual collision not seen. Man hits another man with an unknown object—not intending to injure. Man commits suicide by jumping from window, we hear him hit a car on the ground below. Man fatally drops barbell on his neck. Elderly man has heart attack on park bench. Woman sensually asks man to “punish her.” Foot and leg of dead man in bathtub are shown. Man hit with golf ball has bloody nose. Man is punched out. Gunshots heard at a rap concert resulting in a death, which is not seen. Woman wearing fur coat has paint splashed on her by animal rights protestors. A sniper shoots a man. Man has a car accident.
Sexual Content: D+
Comment about having sex with a skinny woman. Some women are scantily dressed. Woman wearing a somewhat revealing dress sensually asks to be punished; she and a man begin sexual activity on a couch. Similar scene occurs on a pool table, with exchanged sexual banter. Man makes sexual gestures. Woman in negligee in bed with another woman asks man if he wants to join them—he doesn’t. Woman wears pink tights with a g-string bikini bottom and bra top.
At least: Two slang terms for sex, one sexual gesture, 29 moderate profanities, 34 mild profanities, 3 terms of Deity used as expletives or profanities. Also, a sequence seen as a news report has a person swearing with words bleeped out, but she obviously uses an additional sexual expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C
Frequent social drinking and scenes taking place in nightclubs. Two characters seen smoking. A couple of verbal jokes involving the use of illegal drugs.
Page last updated May 4, 2009
More parents' guide for Down To Earth after the break...
Down To Earth Parents' Guide
Much of Down to Earth revolves around the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. In the movie, it’s stated that the theater is closing. Is Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater really going down for the last time? Actually, the real story is the Apollo’s resurrection: http://afgen.com/harlem.html
What is Harlem like today? Read about one woman’s experiences at the following web site: http://www.salon.com/june97/wanderlust/postmark970617.html