Headliner Chris Rock brings laughter, reality to ‘Top Five’ film

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Written, directed and starring Chris Rock, this romantic comedy delivers this holiday season’s funniest movie—albeit with shocking language and lewd behavior at times. In only his third time sitting in the director’s chair, the famous comedian potently combines an unsettling, crude style of humor with a milder storyline centered on relationships. The former cast member of Saturday Night Live takes moviegoers on a wild adventure involving strong sexual content and profanity-laced outbursts as we see his fallible character attempt to remain viable in the comedy business.

In “Top Five”, Rock plays a comedian turned movie star about to marry the next Kim Kardashian in front of Bravo television cameras and the world. The media frenzy over his upcoming wedding overshadows Rock’s latest movie release and leaves him with serious trust issues as he’s about to begin a scheduled interview with a New York Times reporter—portrayed perfectly by Rosario Dawson.

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This movie’s hilarious, yet always edgy, ride through New York City lambasts the stark differences between the media’s sensationalism of Hollywood stars and the deeply rooted insecurities often held by those in show business. That’s why this film works so well—it breaks down all the walls surrounding a person’s alcoholism, fame, and mistrust issues and replaces them with honest feedback and self-reflection. The movie’s realistic look at one’s personal difficulties despite stardom and wealth, gives the plot plenty of room to work in laughs. The catalyst for Rock’s character is Dawson’s hard-nosed interview, where she very shrewdly returns targeted verbal fire in his direction after every personal attack and joke he attempts at her expense.

Chris Rock, as the director, makes very effective use of flashbacks in the film to vividly describe his character’s destructive behavior in the past. Likewise, we see a rising comedy star currently surrounded by friends and family–all wanting to hear his ‘Top Five’ picks on hip hop artists, rappers and comics of all-time. Lastly, we feel for this comedian who isn’t sure he’ll get another laugh if he remains sober. It’s each of these situations that make this film so entertaining, real and watchable.

“Top Five” offers audiences nearly non-stop laughs with a flawless blend of nightclub comedy, mind-numbing sexual exploits and classic romance plot twists. Chris Rock is magnificent in a role he was born to write, direct and star in. Rosario Dawson’s strong performance both compliments and keeps pace with Rock’s genius work. Together, they bring an eye-opening, funny, and romantic stand-up routine to the big-screen.

Grade: B+

“Top Five” is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor and drug use.  It’s running time is 1 hour and 41 minutes.

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