Chris Rock's TOP FIVE
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
I’ve always been a big fan of Chris Rock. His brand of quirky and irreverent humor with its underlying Rage Against Racism has always struck the right balance between honesty and laugh out loud funny. With Top Five he displays for all to see how he has matured as a comic while seeming to stay true to his roots.
I said “seeming” because I’m white. Many of the jokes went over my head or were simply unintelligible to someone born and raised in a white bread midwestern suburb. For example, most of the names listed in the cast at the end credits as played by “himself” or “herself” were simply unknown to me.
But the core of the story is totally recognizable. A middle-aged black comic, wildly successful but tired of his own former success and drinking, is now searching for direction as he careens toward a marriage with the self obsessed black reality TV star at the same time he is releasing a stillborn but “serious” historical movie.
What propels the movie way beyond what might have been just another exploitation of over-privileged middle-aged angst is the movie’s tight focus on the relationship between Rock’s character and a sharp and attractive newspaper interviewer played by Rosario Dawson.
Dawson is one of my favorite actresses. Her intelligence and wit are perfectly matched with Rock. Plus, she knows how to skip rope!
Make no mistake about it: this movie is occasionally crude and rude. There are more blowjob references here than in any mainstream movie I remember having seen (unless you count American Dirtbags, I suppose).
The language is frequently profane and outrageous with some very raw sexual situations going over the top. But at the end of the day the pace, editing, humor, and hugely talented cast really set this one apart with Rock and Dawson always at the center.
Recommended — for adults only.
Review copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald