Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: Down to Earth (2001)
Well, today’s installment of the list banned under the Geneva Convention is another comedy. Mercifully, I haven’t seen it, but I thoroughly believe our battered correspondent when he says it’s terrible. It’s starring Chris Rock, who has a lousy hit rate, and the premise is terribly unfunny.
Does any genre fall as flat on its arse as comedy when it doesn’t work? Let’s find out:
Chris Rock plays Lance, a comic who gets lambasted at the Apollo with jokes like “I’ve got cockroaches so big, they got drafted in the second round.” Nevertheless, the Apollo is shutting down and will have a last show with five spots available for amateur night, and Lance wants to make sure he’s one of them. On the bike ride home after the show (he’s a bike messenger, but not like the Bacon!) he spots Regina King walking across the street and rides right through a red light and gets plowed by a garbage truck. Next thing you know he’s up in heaven talking with Eugene Levy (Keyes) and Chazz Palminteri (King). Unfortunately Keyes took Lance a tad too early since he’s not supposed to be admitted until 2047. Since his old body is gone, King can get him a new body.
After perusing through some possible substitues, of which none of the instances are funny of course, King shows him Mr. Wellington, some rich dude who’s wife is planning to kill him. While King and Lance are at Wellington’s place, who just happens to waltz in is Regina King (Sontee) complaining about some hospital, ah, not important. So Lance takes Wellington’s body and more ill attempts at humor take place. King promises to hook him up with another permanent body since the old white rich guy’s body ain’t gonna cut it for Lance. Lance surprisingly takes all of this in stride.
Wellington of course changes things up a bit as Lance gives the maids raises, watches some BET with the butler, who was only pretending to be English and is really from Scarsdale. With the butler in tow, Lance goes to some black comedy club to try to get into one of the last spots for Apollo’s last show. Watching Lance and the butler listening to rap music in the car…priceless. Suffice to say, watching an old white man tell black jokes doesn’t go over well with the black audience. Believe me when I say it’s fucking crazy whack fucking hysterical.
So back to the hospital that Wellington just bought…apparently he has a track history of buying hospitals and turning the poor away and sending them to other hospitals outside of their area. Sontee is all ready to make a big point and Lance turns the tables and lets everyone know that they won’t refuse any patient from now on. Once again, Chris Rock brings the unfunny.
Lance and Sontee end up spending time, which is more than fucking ridiculous. Let’s see, she hated Mr. Wellington, he’s an old guy, and now she’s willing to spend an entire night with him, including a kiss. Yup, Mr. Wellington is an old dude and she kisses him. Why? Because she sees something in his eyes, like it’s someone else. Riiiiight.
Keyes inconveniently arrives after the magical night with Sontee informing Lance he’s got his new body for him. But Lance wants nothing of it since Sontee likes Mr. Wellington. Good move. Next he has his butler bring his former comedy manager and convinces real quick like that he’s Lance and needs his help to get back to the Apollo. Of course he gets the last spot. Again Keyes shows up at the wrong time just as Lance asks Sontee to marry him. Wellington gets gunned down by his Board of Directors. Luckily the body they have for him is a black guy who happens to be performing at the Apollo. Lance realizes this joyfully when he tries to hail one taxi after another without success and shots “I’m a black man, I’m a black man!”
Lance, in a shocker, aces his performance. Not sure how since not one joke was funny, but whatever. However, there’s a downside. King informs Lance that with this new body, he will be that person. He won’t remember them, or Lance or Sontee, anyone. But as fate would have it, Lance (Joe now) runs into Sontee who was looking for Lance’s manager, and they start talking and hit it off.
Not funny, not once. Wanda Sykes does her annoying shit, and John Cho even shows up as a performer at the Apollo. Stifler’s mom is in this too, as Wellington’s wife, and she does her normal thing too. If it gave me just one instance of laughter, I would have happily given it a rating of one. It gets zero pet rocks out of four.
The Nightmare so far…
1973 The World’s Greatest Athlete 1 / 4
1974 Deranged 0.5 / 4
1975 Shampoo 1.5 / 4
1976 Taxi Driver 3 / 4
1977 Black Samurai 1.5 / 4
1978 The Betsy 0 / 4
1979 Quintet 0 / 4
1980 Hero at Large 2/4
1981 Dogs of War 2.5/4
1982 The Beast Within 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom
1983 King of Comedy 3/4
1984 Blame it on Rio 0.5/4
1985 Lost in America 0/4
1986 Quicksilver 1/ 4
1987 84 Charing Cross Road 1/ 4
1988 Shoot to Kill 1/4
1989 The Mighty Quinn 2/4
1990 Revenge 2/4
1991 The Silence of the Lambs 4/4
1992 Wayne’s World 2.5/4
1993 The Temp 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom
1994 Blank Check 1/4
1995 Heavyweights 0.5/4
1997 That Darn Cat 0/4
1998 Sphere 0/4
2000 The Beach 0/4
2001 Down to Earth 0/4