What’s Your Top Five

Let’s just get this out of the way. I am a humongous Chris Rock fan. He is my favorite comedy by a significant margin. So I’m admitting my bias up front. Chris Rock has been quiet on the silver screen for a bit now. Why wouldn’t he be? Grown Ups 2 was pretty awful. His last starring role was the lukewarm Death at a Funeral. Top Five feels like a reboot, a bare bones movie. He is dropping the theatrics and the ensemble cast, focusing on a few characters and a single day’s interaction.

Top Five follows the day in the life of Andre Allen. A successful comedian turned movie star. He rose to fame doing comedies, and now he wants to do more serious roles. His fire for comedy is gone and he doesn’t want to do jokes anymore. He is in NYC to promote his new movie “Uprize”, which is about the Haitian rebellion. Chelsea Brown is a report from the times, and is tasked to follow Andre for the day for piece about him and his new movie. It’s a day in the life version of him as he faces what many consider to be a mid-life crisis. How much of an allegory is this story to Chris Rock we may never know, but this film puts him at his best. Giving plenty of commentary about society , sex, celebrity and more.

Andre Allen has had a successful career, considered by many to be one of the best if not the best comedian. His film success came from mostly slap stick comedies. His most famous, coming from the portrayal of a bear police officer, “Hammy The Bear”. This didn’t come without his fair share of controversy. He was a raging alcoholic at one point, and is now celebrating a few years of sobriety courtesy of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chelsea is an up and coming reporter and wants to get serious piece out of Andre. She has also struggled with alcohol, and uses it to her advantage. A phrase of AA is “rigorous honesty” and she wants Andre to give her a day of just that. So begins the day in the life of Andre Allen as he aggressively promotes his new movie in New York City. It’s a great ride through the media circus of NYC. Allen is desperately trying to promote his movie as a serious drama. Seemingly everyone who interviews him is more interested in when”Hammy The Bear 4″ is gonna come out. Andre tells Chelsea that he doesn’t feel funny anymore.

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While the film is pretty down to earth in its premise. It gets a majority of its laughs from some pretty elaborate flash backs. Opportunities for the cast to up the antics in pursuit of a good laugh. Including a scene where Allen explains when he hit rock bottom, and Chelsea’s recollection of some sweet sweet revenge against an ex-boyfriend. There is also some great cameo appearances, the best one I dare not spoil. It kind of feels like a lot of different people wanted a piece of this film, and it works out well for everyone involved. They all do well to fill the stage for Rock and Dawson to work. The movie boils down to a sparring match of wits between two people who however different their paths share common skepticism. It doesn’t keep them for hoping and wanting more. Sharing the same demon in alcoholism gives them enough of the platform to let down some walls.

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The film’s title “Top Five” refers to popular social ice breaker. Your top five musical artist and one reserve. Doesn’t have to be musical, but that’s the general question. The film doesn’t make a huge deal out of this, so I’m not exactly sure why it was the chosen title. It might be a more symbolic gesture, come into the movie with an open mind. Everybody’s top five is different, and maybe you’ll find our own top five within the movie itself. What I can say, Top five is easily one of Chris Rock’s top five films he has ever made and/or participated in. It might even be his best work, if not it’s certainly work at his finest. As Chris Rock is getting up there in age, you can imagine his work will be dedicated to solidifying his legacy. Top Five is a step in the right direction.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ0Qhbm3Xj8]

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