A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality-TV star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her TV show.
Meta style tales are all the rage these days, with TV series such as ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, ‘Louie’ and reality skewing ‘The Comeback’ all being successful to different degrees. On this occasion, actor/comedian Chris Rock has written a film about a character called Andre Allen, with the similarities between Allen and the actor playing him (Rock himself) apparent. The film takes the form of ‘a day in the life’ of Andre Allen, as he is interviewed by a journalist from the New York Times as part of the promotion of his new movie. His background has been in standup comedy as well as a series of silly comedy films about a character known as Hammy The Bear. His new film is a serious drama about the Haitian slave uprising called ‘Uprize’ (yep, with a Z!) and he’s struggling to promote it.
The main themes of the film are about an actor trying to be taken more seriously after a career in mostly generic comedies, and struggling to understand his place when most people only want to talk to him about his impending wedding to a reality TV star, and not his latest film, a departure from his career to this point. In that sense, there are definite similarities with Oscar winner ‘Birdman’ although this film lacks the rhythm and heart that ‘Birdman‘ has. The film is very funny, with entertaining flashbacks throughout the interview to Allen’s past struggles with alcoholism and fame, and Rock has an easy chemistry with Rosario Dawson (who plays the reporter). The development from their discussions isn’t overly surprising, but the charisma of the duo and the warm and funny script help to take the audience along with it.
Allen could have came across as a spoilt brat, and the film doesn’t compromise in showing him at his lowest points, but Rock manages to maintain a strong grounding throughout to get his points across. The ‘Top Five’ of the title refers to several of the characters listing their top five rappers of all time and this is an enjoyable way to link the different characters together. The supporting cast is huge, with many established stars playing themselves (such as Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg and Adam Sandler), whilst there are enjoyable turns from good comedic actors such as J. B. Smoove and Kevin Hart. ‘Top Five’ is an enjoyable and funny comedy film that makes some good points about the nature of fame within the world we live in, and it’s Rock’s strongest outing in some time.
Directed By: Chris Rock
Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, J. B. Smoove, Tracy Morgan and Cedric The Entertainer