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Film / Down to Earth

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This 2001 comedy, directed by Chris and Paul Weitz and starring Chris Rock (who helped to write the screenplay along with Louis C.K.), is basically a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Heaven Can Wait.

Lance Barton (Rock) is a black struggling standup comic. He's run over by a truck and goes to Heaven, where he's reincarnated in the body of a rich, middle-aged white man.

Some tropes found in the film include:

  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Unlike the previous versions, this time the angel is actually waiting for Lance to take him to Heaven, raising the question of why he was there in the first place if Lance wasn't actually supposed to die. It's possible, though, that this is the standard operating procedure for people about to be plowed down by semis, as any collision between the two will end in something so gory it can't be shown in a PG-13 movie.
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  • Closer to Earth: The (mostly black and/or working-class) domestic staff, vs. the upper-class white characters, all of whom are pretty evil.
  • Council of Angels: Seemingly, God doesn't appear but Keyes and King do. Lance even comments on how they look like certain actors.
  • Failing a Taxi: After being brought back to life for the second time, Chris Rock's character tries to hail a taxi to test if he was reincarnated as a black man. He fails to attract a single cab, much to his delight.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The premise.
  • N-Word Privileges: The main character tends to forget that he's a black man who's trapped in a white body. The first time he performs his regular comedy routine in his new body, the audience is shocked into silence. He later gets knocked out by a couple of black guys for singing N-word containing lyrics in public.
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  • Not Enough to Bury: Thankfully, we only get to hear King sum up the bloody pulp that was once Lance Barton's original body in just a few words: "Your body's gone, adios, sayonara. ¿Comprende?"
  • Possessing a Dead Body: What Lance is essentially doing when he takes Wellington's dead body which seems to start it up again and heal any damage. He does it again with Joe Guy when Wellington is killed.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Chris Rock plays a stand-up comedian who dies and whose soul is put into the body of a wealthy middle-aged white guy. So, now you got a typical caucasian board member acting and talking like, well, Chris Rock. To everyone but him, he looks like a typical example of this trope. He even gets punched out once by a pair of black guys for singing along to "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" in a public place, and the audience's reaction when he goes to a comedy club at a black neighborhood and starts to deliver his usual routine is priceless. Then there is an attempt by the white guy's wife (played by Jennifer Coolidge) to act "street" to get his attention.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Lampshaded. After the main character does this to his Love Interest, they discuss how a couple's first kiss is always one of these.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Forget about trying to return to your body before it's burned if your premature death was the result of a road accident involving a semitruck—unlike in the films it remakes, Down to Earth acknowledges that such a body would be as totaled as the bike it was riding.
    King: Here's the story. Your body's gone, adios, sayonara. ¿Comprende?
  • Trumplica: Charles Wellington III, has the hair, figure, business empire and is married to a much younger wife. Lance Buton stepping into his skin causes Charles' apparent personality to do a complete 180° a change that everyone notices.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: What Charles Wellington III is when Lance takes over his body, it gets him killed again.
  • White Dude, Black Dude: Chris Rock as a black comedian suddenly reincarnated in the body of a wealthy old white man. This proves to be an obstacle when he tries to win audiences over with his trademark racially-based comedy.