Top Five (R) 102 mins B+
Ice Cube, EPMD, Ice-T, Krs-One, Public Enemy
Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Jones, Anders Holm, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Hayley Marie Norman, Sherri Shepherd, Ben Vereen, Jay Pharoah and Karlie Redd
Top Five is Chris Rock's third directorial effort. The film is a little raunchy, a little rough around the edges, but underneath it all is a thoughtful celebrity satire. Rock plays Andre Allen, a comedian-turn-movie star who is tired of making mindless Hollywood films. Desperate to be taken seriously as an actor, our protagonist is in New York pimping his first dramatic film, Uprize! In New York he is shadowed by Chelsea Brown (Dawson), a New York Times reporter assigned to write a piece about him. (Spoiler Alert!) Allen and Brown proceed to have a New York love-hate-love story of sorts. Meanwhile, his reality star bride-to-be (Union) plans their television wedding in Los Angeles.
The film features a lot of cameos, a lot of laughs and inescapable Woody Allen references (it's the New York thing). But, overall this is a layered film about being black, being famous, and living in reality. If you can get past some of the language, you'll find a highly rewarding film and a budding directorial talent.