Opening 16 Apr 2015
Chris Rock writes, directs, and stars in this entertaining film pivoting on people’s expectations and making changes… for the right reasons. Andre’s (Rock) bear costume made him famous, but he is breaking out with serious stuff – case in point, Uprise about Dutty, Haiti, and slaves rebelling a couple hundred years ago. Andre rushes around New York City promoting and pitching his flick with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) tagging along; for a NY Times reporter Chelsea is O.K., unlike Andre’s nemesis James Nelson. Concurrently, fiancée Erica (Gabrielle Union) is in Los Angeles, California taking care of last-minute wedding arrangements. Which is three days away and will be telecast on her Bravo show; hey, its all about reality TV. Silk (J.B. Smoove) maintains and keeps Andre on schedule; Andre and Chelsea talk constantly – not always about him, i.e. the story – meet family, friends, et al. until things goes south. Then, Erica’s handler (Romany Malco) and Silk step in. Just maybe, the Prince can still find Cinderella.
Top Five’s story is quick, firm, emotive, and imparts nuggets of wisdoms, and the first-rate cast deliver genuine, sanguine performances. The long list of guest artists include Charlie Rose, Bruce Bruce, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, DMX, Sway and more. Quirky comedic is interspersed smoothing-out tensions arising from squabbles or during weighty scenes. Manuel Alberto Claro’s cinematography and Anne McCabe’s editing smoothly lead us, accompanied by Ludwig Göransson and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson’s jiving music. Crossing racial boundaries, Chris Rock makes us privy to truisms from a black perspective, kicking political correctness out the window. If you have an aversion to whitey jokes or the word nigger, give this a miss. Otherwise, hang loose and have fun, besides learning Jerry Seinfeld’s top five during end credits. (Marinell Haegelin)