TOP FIVE

★★★

CHRIS ROCK MEETS WOODY ALLEN

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
9th March 2015

Muddled tone, nonlinear, use of flashbacks, scattered thoughts - these are all things that, in most cases, would be listed in the negative column while critiquing a film. Yet as I’ve just discovered, thanks to Chris Rock’s newfound brilliance as a filmmaker, it’s all positive baby.

It’s been seven years since Rock last put pen to paper and himself behind the camera for a feature film. His last outings weren’t great, but then they weren’t the worst. Let’s just say Chris showed that he had potential; comedies in their most basic, lowbrow for. Now with 'Top Five', Chris has finally told something personal, something real, a story worth telling - and it’s his most rigorously honest work to date, making him a better actor, writer and director for it.

'TOP FIVE' TRAILER 2

Andre Allen (Rock) is a former stand-up superstar turned box-office goldmine who’s trying to make a serious comeback after abandoning the franchise that made him famous and committing to a life of sobriety. On the day of his latest film’s opening and three days out from the highly-publicised, highly-televised wedding to his reality queen iancée Erica (Gabrielle Union), Andre is subjected to an onslaught of press to promote his movie, including a New York Times tagalong journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson). Getting off to a rough start, the pair eventually call a truce and get down to the nitty gritty of Andre’s life including is family, soon-to-be marriage, alcoholism and most importantly why he turned his back on comedy.

Chris has finally told something personal, something real, a story worth telling.

Putting a cast together of the who’s who of black comedians and a few hilarious rolodex cameos, Rock has surrounded himself with talent and friends, leading to trust and confidence in his team. This means a fun film, evident in every scene. Clearly pulling from his own life as well as harsh observations from the the industry of show business, Rock has cast a harsh, truthful yet funny light on the power and dangers of celebrity and real people behind it all.

Rock has always been known for his sharp and edgy comedy - none of that is lost here, even when he incorporates a love story, very successfully I might add. Chris has used his New York setting beautifully and even given the film an even more Woody Allen feel, as the best pieces of the film play out with simply Andre and Chelsea wondering the streets talking shit. Hilarious, romantic, poignant, intelligent, quippy shit.

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