Everyone loves a comeback. An old favorite returning to center stage can put a smile on anybody’s face. Can Chris Rock, whose last batch of movies include classics like Grown Ups 1 and 2 and Death at a Funeral, do the same? While Top Five isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, it’s certainly an above-average dramedy that will put a smile on anybody’s face who wants to see a Chris Rock movie and not hate themselves while doing so.
Top Five tells the story of Andre Allen (Chris Rock), an actor who’s sick of making dumb comedies and would like to be treated as a serious actor. He achieved that dream, and is now doing press for his new “serious” film. He agrees to spend a day with a Times reporter (Rosario Dawson) who’s writing a profile on him. The movie follows how that day went for Andre.
Chris Rock does a commendable job writing and directing the film. He’s not new to this game but this is clearly his best work.
Top Five’s screenplay is top notch. From the whimsical dialogue to the well-paced and fun story, Chris Rock did an exceptional job here. Some elements of the film feel forced and unnecessary (a romance, for example), but it’s impossible not to be impressed with Rock’s work here. Sitting in the director’s chair, Rock kills it! Terrific camerawork, great performances from the actors, wonderful staging of scenes, and slick editing make for an insanely great job from the comedian director.
In front of the camera, Rock continues to impress. While he aces the comedic part of his performance, it’s the dramatic moments that are a wonder to behold. There’s not a single opportunity for Rock to really impress but he does such a great job with what he gave himself.
Meanwhile, Rosario Dawson starts off by delivering your average performance, but as the character grows so does the quality of her performance. Smart move by Chris Rock and props to Dawson on a great job with the character. J.B. Smoove deserves a shoutout for being hilarious while playing Andre Allen’s assistant Slick, and other actors from the trailer like Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, Tracy Morgan, and Whoopi Goldberg (who have cameos more than supporting roles) also do a great job.
Top Five won’t make it onto anybody’s top five favorite movies of the year but Chris Rock’s work on this movie is well worth the price of admission. His great screenplay, direction, and performance make for a great comeback story. Here’s hoping we get more of this from Chris Rock!