Chris Rock best known and loved for his hilarious stand up comedy routines (and maybe his animated character voice overs), has tried his hand at writing and directing movies before. He has previously written and directed two feature films (Head of State and I Think I Love My Wife), and he’s back again with his newest film, Top Five. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was picked up by Paramount after receiving great praise.
Rock plays Andre Allen, a character with many similarities to himself. He began as a stand-up comedian, then segued into a series of extremely popular, stupid movies. (Allen’s Whammy the Bear trilogy features a cop in a bear suit that shoots machine guns, and it made a zillion dollars.) When we meet Andre he is four years sober, readying to marry to a Kardashian-esque reality star (Gabrielle Union) and is about to release his first “serious” effort, an historical epic on the Haitian slave revolution. Despite Top Five happening over the course of one day, the splendid stream-of-consciousness editing means it takes a moment to put it all together. Indeed, at first you may think that Andre’s verbal sparring partner Chelsea (Rosario Dawson, in a plum role) is his significant other. They’ve got the walk-and-talk patter down and seem comfortable zinging one another. This is, however, not the case.
Chelsea is a New York Times reporter shadowing Andre for the day as he preps for his bachelor party and does a junket for his earnest drama. The “plot” of Top Five, such as it is, is simple. Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson walk around New York. It’s the jazzy way in which they do it that make this so memorable.
The trailer was just released and it looks smart, funny, and fresh. Plus it’s got plenty of stars: Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, J.B. Smoove, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Cedric the Entertainer, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan, among others. Jay Z and Kanye West are co-producers.
Check out the trailer for Top Five which hits theatres nationwide on Dec. 12.