by Siddharth Srikanth
“Top 5” is arguably one of the year’s funniest films, from its witty dialogue to the stellar cast that puts it in motion. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve seen the trailer, but Andre Allen is an excuse for Chris Rock to play…Chris Rock. With Top Five being so close to life for Rock, it’s no surprise his acting in this is great.
Rock plays Andre Allen, a man whose fame has left him alienated from the person he at the start of his career. The plot takes place over a day, and consists of Allen’s interview with the lovely Chelsea Brown, played by Rosario Dawson. Together, Brown and Allen traverse the city and talk about their Allen’s career and their lives. The plot is really a flimsy excuse to show off the film’s outstanding supporting cast. With J.B. Smoove, Kevin Hart (in a brief but killer spot), Tracy Morgan, and more in the mix, the film’s supporting characters bring humor that hits like an electrifyingly refreshing sucker punch.
With such a comic pedigree behind Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson, it feels like a waste for the supporting cast to be featured in only two or three scene. Standouts like Jay Pharaoh, Michael Che, and Leslie Jones not being used to their full extent is a missed opportunity of the highest caliber.
The jokes are amazing, and Rock’s both comic and dramatic storytelling capability is nothing short of amazing. “Top Five” is, however, a movie that would like its audience to come into the film with hip-hop knowledge, something that should not come as a surprise with Jay-Z and Kanye West as its executive producers. The movie’s biggest joke relies on basic hip-hop knowledge, which might leave some viewers feeling as alienated as Rock’s character. Take the time to educate yourself briefly before entering the movie, and you will enjoy it that much more.
If you want to see Chris Rock in his funniest non-zebra based role in ages, see Jerry Seinfeld throw racks on racks on racks in a strip club, and see a comedy film that doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator, go ahead and treat yourself to “Top 5.”
Score: 8 / 10