release date: 12 December 2014 (Canada)
run time: 102 mins
director: Chris Rock
starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, Hayley Marie Norman, Anders Holm, Cedric the Entertainer, Karlie Redd, Kevin Barnett, Genevieve Angelson, Ben Cole, Corey Brown, Maia Wilson, Teddy Coluca, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart
movie summary: Andre Allen (Chris Rock) has it all. This former comedian, now lackluster movie star, has a beautiful fiancée Erica Long (Gabrielle Union) and a lot of money to fund his own movie projects. His biggest problem is Erica has all the spotlight, the critics hate him, and he’s just not funny anymore. The press has all but given up on him since he retired his famous bear cop character named Hammy and the journalists take every chance they get to belittle him. Erica is a reality star whose own TV show is centered around her daily life and their upcoming wedding, which just happens to fall during the weekend of Andre’s new release about a slave rebellion in Haiti.
Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) steps into Andre’s life to grab an inclusive interview as he bounces around New York doing press for the movie. While she tags along for his hectic day, she gets a first hand account of his struggles to escape his Hammy the Bear character and how his career has never been the same since he stopped being funny. In the car between interviews, Chelsea tries her best to pry answers out of Andre that include how he got sober, why is he marrying Erica, and why did he stop doing stand up comedy. Andre leads Chelsea down a hilarious path of events that shaped his career and personal life while driving her around town to meet his family and closest friends.
The pair agree to walk the streets after Andre’s car is rear ended by a taxi. They stop along the way to share some laughs, food, and memories of when they both became sober. Chelsea and Andre seem to hit it off both on a personal and professional level, but she continues to dig deeper because there’s more to his story then he’s letting on. When they hit up a dance club before Andre’s bachelor party, the pair get a little cozy in a wash room before he finds out who she really is and who she writes for. Andre’s amazing day with a beautiful women has come crashing down which results in him turning to the bottle to drown his sorrows.
Andre gets drunk at a supermarket and trashes a few displays before getting arrested for distributing the peace. The media get wind of this incident and he’s all over the news which threatens his huge wedding over the weekend. After spending a few hours in jail Andre is bailed out and forced to choice between attending his bachelor party and upcoming wedding or breaking up. His best friend Silk (J.B. Smoove) brings him to the party where Chelsea is waiting for him. Together with Silk she has a plan to bring out the real Andre Allen, the one that has been hiding for the last four years.
my thoughts: I might as well get this out-of-the-way, I felt this movie sucked. The trailer for Top Five had me believing this would be one of the funniest movies ever, thanks to critics calling it “the role that Chris Rock was meant to play.” Well sorry to say that this was a complete letdown and Chris Rock could have down a million times better. Don’t take every word I say to heart because this movie currently holds high ratings on all the major review sites and friends of mine in the blogging universe loved Top Five. But as I like to remind people who question my taste in movies, we can agree to disagree on so many of them and still be friends.
The whole concept of this movie is like a day in the life of a reality tv star. He gets up, promotes his movie, does interviews, talks to his fiancée, does more interviews, has a mental breakdown, goes to jail, and then ends his day at a party. Chris Rock used to be funny, pretty much like Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler used to be, and he uses Top Five as a means to get back to his comedy roots. I applaud his efforts to entertain us but at the end of the movie I honestly felt he only put this movie together to give a job to his friends and make a few bucks off of us. The title of the movie is called Top Five when only like four characters list off their top five. The title has little to no effect on the outcome of the story and I just don’t understand how he intended them to blend together. Sure anyone can debate their top five favourite things at any given moment, but the way the story was written it just make sense to call this movie Top Five.
I’m sure some of you will go see this movie, laugh from start to finish, and then leave me hate comments for hating this movie. I’m perfectly fine with this because with the exception of the hotel sex scene this movie didn’t provide me with any real laughs. I almost fell out of my seat laughing at the acting and facial expressions in that scene but that was it for gut busting laughs. When we fast forward to Andre’s family gathering where Tracy Morgan leads a group discussion, they tell jokes, debate their top fives, and try to make fun of Andre and his career. Although Chelsea spent the whole time with a smile on her face, I couldn’t wait for the movie to transition because it wasn’t funny or entertaining.
Speaking of Chelsea, Rosario Dawson played such a loveable character, no matter what she put her ex-boyfriends. I was just disappointed that she would hide such a dark secret that would ruin a budding relationship with Chris’ Andre character. It was amazing how well Rosario and Chris played off each other throughout the whole movie and had the kind of connection that you hoped would lead to romance. They were able to keep us engaged through out a chaotic day when nothing seemed to go right for anyone, except when they looked at each other and smiled. It was a perfect casting call that was worth watching even with a sub par script to work with.
Besides our two main characters, the story is sprinkled with cameos from a variety of friends of Chris Rock and New York City. Sad none of them could help save this movie from being a bomb. I thought the ending was the lamest part and I felt a little upset that it didn’t end differently or even better. It fit perfectly with Chelsea’s character and what she had expired all day with Andre, but I just felt Chris Rock took the easy way out and ended the movie on such a bad note that I literally said “are you kidding me?!?” I deserved a better finish than that and any movie goer should feel the same because this movie would never be in the Top Five of anything.
my final thoughts: Love it or hate it, Chris Rock tries really hard to be funny in a movie called Top Five that lacked any real story or point. This movie will not win any awards, not revive his comedy career, or be worth the $10-$15 you may spend to watch it. I’m going to warn everyone to steer clear of this one but if you must see it then venture at your own risk.
my star rating: 3 out 10
imdb: 6.9 out 10
rottentomatoes: 90% out 100%
roger ebert: 3 out 4
richard crouse: 4 out 5