Top Five - Review
In the film “Top Five” which takes place in one 24 hour cycle in New York City, we find comedian Chris Rock (the writer - director) stepping away from his stand up microphone to deliver to the big screen a very smart, well written, satirically clever and semi-autobiographical movie on subjects ranging from rap music, promiscuous sex, family dynamics, romantic relationships and the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse and their collective impact through the ups and downs of sudden unexpected fame in the modern entertainment industry.
Director Rock manages not only to make his “Andrea Allen” into someone both interesting to watch and to listen to, he also manages to shares his directing talents on well-rounded, fully realized supporting characters, especially in the form of his co-star Rosario Dawson’s “Chelsea Brown”; a newspaper reporter assigned to interview his Allen for a COB deadline. Rosario’s “Brown” comes across as both an intellectual and emotional equal to Rocks “Andre” without ever stooping to be some conventional cliché’ vulnerable appendage love interest. She is equally smart, sometimes flawed, sometimes witty, sometimes vulnerable, but above all femininely strong without ever having to lower her standards and personal convictions when they are on the screen together.
Not intentionally a comedic film but rather a film bathed in heavy social satire that is at its core funny, ‘Top Five” works well the full running time, though it does have a few clumsy moments of raw highly sexualized humor and profanity laced gags that at times seemed to be misplaced and a tad raunchy. But those moments are very, very brief and few apart as Rock manages to overall stay basically on course to his film’s fundamental vision about celebrity culture with insightful observations, authentic moments of genuine humanity, vibrant charm, credible laughter and heartfelt humor.
I like “Top Five” for its construction, its originality and that it made me laugh and smile. But above all it also made me reflect.
3 - 1/2 Stars