You would think a romantic comedy that deals with the pressures of fame, family, alcoholism and unpaid prostitutes would be too much to fit into a film and actually work. But writer / director Chris Rock packs it all together nicely in his new film – TOP FIVE.
Andre Allen is an international star of comedy. The highlight of his career so far seems to be him playing a most popular character – Hammy the Bear. But now Andre wants to take his acting in a different direction. He’s also getting married to reality star Erica Long, played by Gabrielle Union. At this point, in steps Times Magazine reporter Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) who is assigned to get the inside scoop on Adrian’s life.
If you are expecting this to be Chris Rock’s stand up routines turned into a 2 hour situational comedy then think again. The film is a hilarious, but also a decently written fictional allegory for an uber famous comedian and his possible struggles. In fact the strength of this film is in the way Rock had layered Andre’s internal journey – both past and present – with the interactions of the people around him, especially Rosario. I love romantic comedies and this was a good one. My screen crush on Rosario has been rekindled, don’t judge me. The chemistry between Chris’ and Rosario was great. It added real charm to the story with scenes and conversation making the film feel like an independent feature. On the opposite side, the cameos of comedic geniuses and legends brought a validity to it.
Bravo to Chris Rock’s directing. Looking at his filmography you can see in TOP FIVE the level of polish and maturity his cinematic eye is reaching. He was taking more time in telling the story then his previous work in I Think I Love My Wife, which I liked. His acting? It was okay. Chris definitely had his on screen moments, but it was hard not seeing Chris being Chris playing Andre if you know what I mean. But speaking on Rock’s handling of the writing, he showed true finesse in crafting a story that was pretty much a metaphor unto itself. Basically TOP FIVE was Rock telling the world that he’s ready to venture into new creative and artistic territory through the tale of Andre, and looks to the public to share in his growth as a filmmaker.
Was it a fairytale? A biopic? A crude comedy with gratuitous penal references? It was all of that. And this is why I think the film will grow on people that love interesting cinema. Therefore Geek Soul Brother gives TOP FIVE 4.0 out of 5 Cosmic Afros.