What if you stumbled upon Prince Charming in the real world and neither of you had a clue on what to do. Want to find out?
Poignantly written and artfully directed by Chris Rock, Top Five never misses a beat from beginning to end. Sure, it is frequently profanely funny, but it puts Hollywood’s rich and famous lifestyle under a microscope with dazzling consequences.
As an outline, Rock plays Andre Allen, a movie celebrity who gained fame from a series of idiotic films where he played “Hammy the Bear”. Parts of those films are shown, and they have all the allure of Hangover III and Horrible Bosses 2.
In any event, Andre is trying to re-establish his career as a serious actor, this time promoting his starring role in a film about the Haitian slave revolution. Given that this film centers on numerous white people dying at the hands of angry slaves, his hopes of it being a box office smash are profoundly dimmed. On top of that, his upcoming marriage in LA to a reality TV star (Gabrielle Union) is being stoked by her to the point that it resembles the marriage of Kanye to one of those regrettable Kardashian sisters.
As Andre wrestled with a past that involved substantial alcohol and drug use, the movie takes off with the appearance of Rosario Dawson, here playing a New York Times reporter who wants to do a lengthy interview with him. Their spirited interrelationship involves mocking each other and it provides one of the highlights of the 2014 movie season.
Ms. Dawson is a captivating actress, as displayed in both Sin City films (2005 and 2014); Cesar Chavez (2014); Trance (2013) and the unforgettable Death Proof (2007). Here, she is perfect as a single mother whose boyfriend is hiding some unfortunate sexual secrets, and she simply wants Andre to be truthful in her interview. Truth is not Andre’s strong suit.
As noted, the film also takes a hard whack at the Hollywood lifestyle. Rock’s upcoming marriage is a further reminder of the nuptials of George Clooney, and the question remains whether tying the knot in Tinseltown is about romance or making a buck.
The film’s swipes at Hollywood also include a debate over whether Tupac would be appearing in Tyler Perry movies if he was still alive. Let’s just say that it is doubtful that Mr. Perry will be fond of this film.
Ironically, Rock’s attempt to escape his past in Top Five resembles Michael Keaton’s similar struggle in Birdman. While it was clear that Keaton’s role reflected much of his actual life in Hollywood, the same applies to Rock when you think of his willingness to appear in such miserable films as Death at a Funeral (2010) and the lamentable Grownup films (2010 and 2013).
Regardless, several actors make some hysterical contributions to this film, and they include Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan and Cedric the Entertainer. All of them are a scream, and you are likely to be laughing as hard as those around you. Also, watch for the appearance of several actors playing themselves, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, and Adam Sandler. Mr. Sandler even allows himself to be skewered when his proposed seat at Andre’s upcoming wedding is moved behind other more prominent stars.
In the end, this is not a movie you should miss. Without giving the conclusion away, it centers on Ms. Dawson’s attraction to the story of Cinderella and a fate dictated by leaving behind a slipper as she flees. It is a moment that will cause you to love both of our stars.