Top Five

"Very Good"

Top Five Review


Chris Rock has essentially written and directed a film based on one of his own standup routines, and the result is as hilarious as we'd expect. It's also a clever skewering of show business, from the difficulty of changing a public image to the never-ending intrusion of the press. But while the film is consistently smart and funny, it's also a bit of an inside joke, taking on an industry that's so absurd that ridiculing it might be too easy.

Rock plays Andre Allen, a former comic who found international fame playing a furry police officer in three Hammy The Bear movies. But now he wants some respect as an actor, so he has produced a serious period drama called Uprize!, about the 18th century Haitian revolution. On the day of the film's gala premiere, Andre grants an interview to New York Times journalist Chelsea (Rosario Dawson), who follows him around town as he runs errands both promoting the film and preparing for his heavily publicised wedding to reality TV star Erica (Gabrielle Union). Against his better judgement, he begins to drop his guard with Chelsea, introducing her to members of his family and inviting her to his bachelor party, which is being staged for Erica's show.

The film's one false note is the whiff of a romantic-comedy as Andre and Chelsea begin to open up to each other. Fortunately, Rock allows this to merely simmer in the background as he gets on with his wicked commentary about life in the entertainment industry. The dialogue is packed with pithy observations, sarcastic gags and knowing jabs that could only come from someone who has lived (and survived) this crazy lifestyle. Even more interesting are the darker undercurrents. Andre is a recovering alcoholic who isn't sure he can still be funny now that he's sober.

The ever-likeable Rock is terrific at giving his comedy a serious edge. And this film is packed with riotous set-pieces that are blackly uproarious. One hysterical flashback to a Houston hotel room with a too gung-ho promoter (Cedric The Entertainer) seems like it couldn't be any more full-on, but it's outdone by Chelsea's account of what went wrong with her ex. The film is also packed with snappy big name cameos who play with the running gag of the title and list their top five hip-hop artists. But it's when the comedy turns to topical themes like race that the film overcomes its somewhat smug attitude and becomes both witty and important at the same time.


Top Five Trailer

 



Top Five

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th December 2014

Box Office USA: $25.3M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Jax Media, IAC Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 123 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Eli Bush

Starring: as Andre, as Chelsea Brown, J. B. Smoove as Silk, as Erica Long, as Benny, as Tammy, Anders Holm as Brad, as Jazzy Dee, as Charles, as Adam Sandler, as Herself, as Himself, as Fred, as Vanessa, as Lisa, as Carl Allen, as Drunk businessman, as Engineer, as Himself, as Mike, Taraji P. Henson as Herself, as Herself

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