Top Five

Directed By: Chris Rock

Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Hayley Marie Norman, Karlie Redd, Rachel Feinstein, Kevin Hart, Sherri Shepherd, J.B. Smoove, Dan Naturman, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, and Whoopi Goldberg

Rigorous honesty is the best way to start out my review of Chris Rock's latest film.  I loved it.  I enjoyed the film so much that I'm going to reveal my own top five, which tells a lot about me.  I'm just going on gut instincts here.  My number one is no surprise at all.  What more can I say than H to the izz-O...V to the izz-A...?  It's undoubtedly Jay-Z.  At number two, I've got none other than Nas.  After all, he doesn't need an entourage to get the job done.  All he needs is one mic.  I've sipped on plenty of gin and juice enjoying jams from my number three Snoop Dogg.  I've always gotten lost in the instrumentals and incredible production value of songs from my number four.  There's a reason Kanye West is living the good life.  My number five, Busta Rhymes, may surprise many, including those who know me well.  All I've got to say is pass the Courvoisier.  Despite hours surfing my iPod, I couldn't land on my number six, so I'll get on with my review of Chris Rock's Top Five.

Andre Allen (Rock) has it all on the surface.  An immensely popular comedian, he's dabbling in more serious fare and breaking out the goat meat with his latest movie, a Haitian-themed flick called Uprize.  He's getting ready to marry the gorgeous reality television star Erica Long (Gabrielle Union).  He's even conquered his personal demons of alcoholism.  All that being said, things aren't so wonderful if one takes a closer look at the funny man's life.  Uprize is destined to bomb at the box office, and New York Times critic James Nielson isn't helping.  Benny Barnes (Romany Malco), the executive producer of Erica's show, has taken control of the wedding and is making it a public spectacle.  Nielson's colleague Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) is even asking him plenty of tough questions for an interview and getting him reacquainted with the sad time when he hit rock bottom.  All in all, looks can be deceiving when it comes to the notion of Andre Allen living the high life.

While we've seen some great black dramas over the last couple of years with films like 12 Years a Slave and Fruitvale Station, we've been lacking in the comedy department.  The tired act that is Madea certainly hasn't produced anything worth a laugh.  Kevin Hart has worn out his act in entirely too many movies in the last several years.  Chris Rock, however, is a welcome delight.  It's a pleasure to see him stepping outside the Madagascar and Grown Ups franchises and delivering some authentic, gut-wrenching comedy that reminds us all that he is truly a force in the comedy business.  With sharp satire of the glamorous yet superficial celebrity life, genuine performances from our leads, and a barrage of cameos perfectly timed for maximum hilarity, Chris Rock's Top Five hits the spot.

Top Five offers some crisp commentary on the good life.  Rock really hammers home the point that it's not about the flashing lights but about the people.  It's about real relationships.  We see that playing out in the interactions between Andre and Chelsea time and time again throughout the film.  Rock also doesn't mind taking jabs at the entertainment industry at large.  With titles such as Hammy the Bear and Uprize, it's abundantly clear that he's poking fun at the Hollywood system and the lack of substance in mainstream cinema today.  All in all, it's a delight to have his irreverent brand of humor back in full effect on the big screen.  We even get a little standup from him in the process.

The performances from Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson are raw and real.  The fact that they're constantly challenging each other to be rigorously honest in what they say and do results in not only comedic gold but also authentic chemistry, a treasure on the big screen.  They bring in their supporting cast members to put some stank on it.  Whether looking to J.B. Smoove, Cedric the Entertainer, or Kevin Hart, there are plenty of colorful, over-the-top personalities on deck.

Top Five filled a void we've had at the box office for quite some time.  We need more comedies like this on the big screen.  Chris Rock's latest gets a strong 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.