Directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, starring Chris Rock, Chazz Palminteri, Regina King and Eugene Levy.
Down to Earth is the latest comedic vehicle for US stand-up Chris Rock (previously seen in Lethal Weapon 4) as he attempts to turn himself into a leading man. Unfortunately though he shoots for Eddie Murphy territory, he ends up in the land of Martin Lawrence, star of the inexplicably successful 'Big Momma's House'. Down to Earth covers remarkably similar ground to that movie, with a formulaic fish-out-of-water story about an ordinary, wisecracking African-American thrown into extraordinary circumstances.
Rock plays a crap stand-up (no comment), whose life is ended 1 second too early, and is thus allowed to enter the body of a Caucasian, bloated billionaire. Through this reincarnation he hopes to win a place on the amateur night at the Harlem Apollo Theatre, as well as winning the heart of some girl he saw on the street once.
It really is that bad. Clichés abound everywhere, from the token love interest that does nothing except exclaim how pretty Rock's eyes are, to the lame, unoriginal stabs at social commentary, which play the race card for laughs. These sequences are the films lowest points, and range from pointing out how white people can't dance, to how white people can't rap. All are cringe worthy.
The film's premise gives Rock ample time to show off his painfully unfunny and derivative stand-up routines, and it manages to waste the fine comedic talents of Chazz Palminteri, and Eugene Levy. The most extraordinary thing is that it was directed by the Weiss Brothers, of 'American Pie' fame. While that film was no classic, there was no denying that it was dang funny, which 'Down to Earth' certainly isn't.
Given its huge advertising campaign, this will undoubtedly be a big hit, but it does nothing except demonstrate the dearth of African-American comedic talent entering the mainstream.