Film Review: Schizophrenic ‘Top Five’ is Evolution for Chris Rock

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Chris Rock wants you to take him seriously, so he has made a comedy with inconsistent laughs, and a nod towards the weird fishbowl lives that today’s celebrities endure. It’s a rare film where the last part is stronger than the first few acts, a mishmash that is “Top Five.” Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Rock writes, directs and stars in the film, his attempt to do a Woody Allen-esque inner exploration of his character’s roots and dynamics. It’s a thinly veiled autobiography, if Rock were in a parallel world where he is a recovering substance abuser and settles on popularity rather than talent. The dialogue is stiff, but the statements are sound, Rock just needed a bit more truth to accomplish what he wanted to say, which is the “path to freedom is paved in love.” The repeat of this shopworn theme – passed through a fairy tale analogy – is designed to show off depth, but more often only skims the surface.

Andre (Chris Rock) is a New York City comedian who has made a series of popular yet stupid movies and sequels. This has taken care of his career, and his fiancee (Gabrielle Union) – a reality TV show star – is planning their wedding for her show. All this occurs at the same time that Andre is releasing his first “serious” movie, a historic piece about a slave uprising in Haiti.

When the the New York Times assigns a features reporter (Rosario Dawson) to profile Andre’s opening weekend, their journey together takes him back to his housing project roots, his recovery stories, his comedy and his fears. His odd life as a semi-celebrity is thrown back into his face, and the only hope he has is his own ability to stay sober through the series of trials.

“Top Five” opens everywhere on December 11th. Featuring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Adam Sandler and J.B. Smoove. Written and directed by Chris Rock. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Top Five”

Chris Rock
Andre (Chris Rock) on the Air in ‘Top Five’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Top Five”

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