Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Top Five

06:05 December 22, 2014
By: David Vicari

Top Five does its job as a comedy by making us laugh, and laugh often. The movie is also about something and that lifts it above the average comedy. Writer/director/star Chris Rock explores celebrity and the media in this age of Twitter and reality TV. 

Rock plays stand-up comic and film actor Andre Allen. He is just out of rehab and wants to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor. Forget his Hammy the Bear comedies .On a promotional tour for his new “serious” film, in which he plays a Haitian revolutionary, Allen decides to give an in-depth interview to journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson, just wonderful), who has her own issues. Allen allows Brown to spend the day with him and ask him the hard questions, like “when did he stop being funny?” Lighter questions include “top five favorite musical artists.” In between questioning, Allen has to deal with his reality TV star fiancee (Gabrielle Union) and the details of their impending marriage.

Top Five does take its time to find its rhythm, but when it does it's a funny observational comedy that would make Woody Allen proud. Rock and Dawson have good chemistry, and J.B. Smoove, as one of Andre's handlers, lends fine support.

The movie is semi-autobiographical, so you do feel like a fly on the wall. This has to be what it's like for a movie star on a media tour plugging their latest movie. Rock has made a film that feels as authentic as it is funny...and it is funny.  

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