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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.
  • Closer to Earth: The (mostly black and/or working class) domestic staff, vs. the upper-class white characters, all of whom are pretty evil.
  • 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.
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  • "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.
  • 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?"
  • 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 white 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.
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  • Reality Ensues: 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?
  • "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.
  • 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.


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