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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


St. Petersburg Times Online

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Chris Rock is heaven, but 'Down to Earth' isn't

By BILLY NORRIS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 5, 2001


Movie: Down to Earth

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Lance Burton (Chris Rock) can't seem to find his place in the comedy world. A few lousy shows at the Apollo Theater have gotten his career off to a bad start. On the way to the local comedy club one night, Burton is hit by a truck, because the angel sent to Earth to call Lance to heaven jumps the gun a little bit and sends him to heaven prematurely. The head angel realizes that Burton is not supposed to "arrive" for another 43 years. They make a deal with Lance and allow him to inhabit a "temporary" body back on Earth until they fix their mistake and get him into a permanent one so he can continue his life as scheduled. Burton's temporary body belonged to a very wealthy man. He falls in love with a woman and must deal with the consequences of not being able to live in that body forever.

My view: Chris Rock is extremely funny. This comedian always makes me laugh, and I had some good hard laughs in this movie. That just wasn't enough, though. Down to Earth was okay, but that's it. I expected more from this movie; it lacked any real excitement. I definitely won't be renting it when it comes out on video!

Favorite part: Chris Rock's humor is a big plus in this movie, and I really enjoyed it. The scenes when he was doing stand-up comedy were the best, but there weren't enough of them.

Least favorite part: The ending, which I am not going to give away, was pretty boring and stupid. I thought it would conclude in a more exciting and dramatic fashion, but I was wrong.

Recommendations: This movie is probably set for middle school age and up, but unless it is a rainy day and you really have nothing better to do, don't bother with this one.

Grade: C

* * *

Billy Norris, 13, is a seventh-grader at Seminole Middle School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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