Executive Music Producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson / Co-Producers Shawn “Jay Z” Carter & Kanye West
Release Date: 8th May 2015 / Run Time: 102 mins / Certificate: 15
How we’ve missed Chris Rock! Fans of the US comedian will be glad to know that the 50 year old’s comeback to the screens is well worth the wait.
Written, acted and directed by Chris Rock, Top Five is everything you want in a bad ass comedy (and there’s a lot of that on display too). It’s the kind of comedy you watch and your belly starts aching afterwards because you’ve laughed so much and your facial muscles have stretched a bit after 100 minutes of riotous laughter.
Produced by Jay Z and Kanye West, the film is a great example of what ‘Black Hollywood’ could create when given the right resources and support. Top Five is based on the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind. Cue star-studded appearances by some of Hollywood’s biggest icons, a stellar performance by Rosario Dawson who plays the down to earth, but funky journalist who has been the bane of Andre’s existence until the day they meet.
The film is shot mostly in one day on the streets of New York, with a story line revolving around Andre’s frustrations at not being taken seriously when he makes a movie about slavery after enjoying huge success as ‘Hammy’ a crime fighting teddy bear, while at the same time struggling to keep his cool while planning his high-profile wedding to reality TV star Erica Long (Gabrielle Union).
Although it draws parallels with Rocks real life in terms of career, that’s about where the similarities stop as one gets the sense this is a movie that has undercurrents of the failings of the Hollywood machine and the entertainment industry in general, exploring the effects these can have on the career choices of entertainers.
As the title suggests, there’s a huge emphasis on who the cast’s ‘Top Five’ entertainers of all time are and this provides a nice twist to this multifaceted comedy. One of the coolest scenes involves Rock visiting his former neighbourhood in the projects and reminiscing with his friends as they debate who deserves to be crowned the ‘Top Five’ of all time. By the end of the movie, you’ll probably be asking yourself that same question too.
Top Five is everything a great comedy should be. Lighthearted, honest and credible with a sprinkle of romance. It’s arguably Chris Rock’s finest work yet.
Top Five opens in UK Cinemas today.