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Down to Earth (2001), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 00
CAP Influence Density: 0.00
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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
DOWN TO EARTH (PG-13) -- He has 40 more years to go!
Lance Barton (Chris Rock, Dogma), bike messenger by day, miserable comedian by night is trying to get a laugh at the Apollo Theater. Even his exceedingly patient and kind manager, Whitney (Frankie Faison) sees no hope for Barton as a comedian. After being booed off the stage, Barton bicycles his way down the street when his eyes meet an African-American beauty, Sontee (Regina King). Trouble is, his eyes don't leave her and fail to see the oncoming truck.
In a moment or two Barton is standing in a fancy party room in the 1940s style with his service angel, Keyes (Eugene Levy) welcoming him into Heaven. If this sounds a bit like Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty, it should. Also welcoming Barton is the head angel, Mr. King: (Chazz Palminteri) who discovers after a few social moments that Keyes took Barton 1/10 of a second before the truck hit him. Oh , no! Barton would not have died! Barton has to be sent back! He has 40 more years to go!
But to get back to humanity, Barton has to have a body. And the only one available is that of the recently murdered Mr. Charles Wellington (Brian Rhodes), a white millionaire. Let's look at that for a minute. A failing comedian "coming back" as a wealthy business man who has everything? Doesn't sound too bad, huh? However, Barton is a young stud and Wellington is a plump old geezer -- not good! And on top of that, Barton is black and Wellington is white. Not to worry. Mr. King (we will look at that name a little later - just keep in the back of your mind the King of kings) assures Barton that when anyone looks ar him they see Wellington. Only Barton sees himself when he looks in the mirror.
Soon we meet Wellington's sex-crazed wife (Jennifer Coolidge) and her man, Wellington's assistant (Greg Germann) who, together, killed old man Wellington for his money. Then whom do our eyes behold but Sontee herself -- the looky lady whose looks killed Barton. She is a community hospital worker out to let Wellington know in no uncertain terms about his underhandedness in closing her hospital. But by now, Barton is in Wellington. So, we see Barton taking it on the chin from Sontee who is letting Wellington have it with both barrels. It's easier to follow visually than in print.
Thus is set the stage for a list of shenanigans, mishaps and tricks n' triumphs of love. But as is typical with PG-13 movies, the goodness of the movie is drowned in ignominy. A plethora of uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus at least one the most foul of the foul words AND a number of uses of God's name in vain shook the earpans of the audience (and further encouraged observers to use foul language as conversational snippets) [Prov. 17:27; Prov. 8:13; Mark 7:20; Eph. 5:4]. Together with the ton of foul language, sexual programming made this PG-13 an "R-13." Murder by drowning, murder by gunfire, planning of murder and suicide were expensive to the scoring as well.
Let me return to the name of the chief angel, "Mr. King" just to add some perspective. The King of kings -- Jesus -- is the one to whom is given all authority to decide where we each will spend eternity: the One who will decide who gets into Heaven and who doesn't; the One before whom we will each stand on Judgment Day [John 5:26-27; Matt 28:18]. So, implication is strong in the movie that this Mr. King is cast in the role of Jesus since Mr. King decides who gets into the Down to Earth heaven and can decide who is be be "cast out" (sent back) And, as the strange teachings and slick talk in Dogma told us of cast out angels being able to get back into Heaven, Down to Earth (and others) tells us of souls being sent back to earth. God sends angels to earth as angelic possession, as messengers, protectors and the like, but I have found nothing to say souls are sent back to earth. The soul of one who has accepted Christ as Lord and the resurrected sacrificial Lamb of God will enjoy eternal Paradise but NOT as an angel. Angels are "tools" of God and He has told us that we are greater than the angels [1 Cor. 6:2-3]. Don't let Hollywood confuse you. Once final Judgment is made, it is eternal. [Hebr. 13:9; Prov. 24:28].
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):