#REVIEW: “TOP FIVE”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
The term “Top Five” refers to an individual’s favorite rap emcees. For example someone may say their Top Five is: Nas, 2-Pac, Drake, Kanye West and Eminem. While another person may respond with: Biggie, Jay-Z, Ice Cube, Andre 3000 and Slick Rick. The possibilities are endless, but what does that have to do with the Film by the same name?
Top Five is a Romantic-Comedy that is starring, written and directed by Chris Rock. It tells the tale of Andre “Hammy” Allen. Mr. Allen, like the Actor who plays him, is a highly successful Actor-slash-Comedian. Unlike Chris Rock however, Andre is a recovering alcoholic (or at least that we know!). And having nailed that demon in its coffin, he seeks to find new life in his Art.
As the Movie begins, we see Andre debating the merits of Film with Chelsea Brown, (played by the beautiful Rosario Dawson). Chelsea is a Journalist for The New York Times, a publication that has repeatedly criticized Andre for his work. On the day of the release for Andre‘s latest film, (a drama about a Haitian slave uprising), Chelsea is reluctantly given the opportunity to rectify the Times relationship with Andre. She is given an interview, a chance to follow Andre around New York while he promotes his Film, Uprize!.
Dawson provides the depth necessary for Chelsea, a Character who is not only a successful Single Mother she also gives the Story its charming tone. Rock‘s tone on the other hand is a complete juxtaposition – downright vulgar, and rightfully so. He has an ability to deliver the deplorable in way few can. His Character Andre is akin to many of Rock‘s great Characters from the past, he has a flare for getting himself into ridiculous situations.
Situational comedy abounds thanks to the Film’s robust Supporting Cast. Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, J.B Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld and a host of others fill out the healthy ranks. Each gets their moment to shine; many get their moment to offer their Top Five. The Top Fives are as eclectic as the Cast that lists them off. Bringing to light the idea that these lists give us insight in the characters and the lives they’ve led, the lives the long to still lead.
Greatness, in ways not many comedies aim for. Top Five is an unexpected pleasure. Not because it was a good Movie that delivers on the laughs, but because it is a great one, a true Cinderella story.
Paramount Pictures release TOP FIVE Friday, December 12, 2014.