Review: Top Five is just what we needed from Chris Rock

Film Review Top Five
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Chris Rock, left, and Rosario Dawson in a scene from “Top Five.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Ali Paige Goldstein)

Chris Rock has become a household name as a legendary standup comedian, Saturday Night Live vet, and most recently, as the voice of Marty the Zebra in the Madagascar series. But, the 49-year-old has dabbled in movie production and direction too.
In his latest flick, Top Five, Rock is pretty much playing himself.  Andre Allen (Rock) is a big-time movie star who fears going back into the comedy world after 4 years of sobriety and a chain reaction of box office flops.
Top Five, which also stars Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, and Gabrielle Union, is one of this year’s most creative and witty movies.  Rock, in true fashion, pushes the envelope with his racy, vulgar humor.  One joke in particular involved a quick jab at JFK and the grassy knoll, so you can image the level of inappropriate hilarity.
Rapping buddies Jay Z and Kanye West serve as co-producers of the film. The Roots’ Questlove managed the movie’s score as executive music producer.  With that many musical geniuses involved, I was a little bummed to actually hear the music featured in the movie.  The soundtrack was unoriginal and filled with your everyday radio playlist.
While the music was predictable, the random listings of favorite rappers held more weight than that of the actual musical selection. The topic, specifically hip-hop, infrequently surfaced throughout the movie as characters discussed their own top rappers.  This dialogue was the impromptu spice to this filmic feast.
There are many surprise guests, both comedians and entertainers. So many wonderful, hilarious cameos that I am not willing to spoil their appearances.  The obvious funny men, Cedric the Entertainer and Kevin Hart, were amongst the elite group.
Rosario Dawson’s character resonated with me personally and professionally.  She played Chelsea Brown, a New York Times film critic who ghost writes under other names. I am Chelsea Brown- the journalist who wears many hats in the hopes of telling an honest story. Unlike other story chasers, we both possess the need to uncover the great, positive stories rather than dig up dirt.
This field is no easy ballpark. Between meetings some one-dimensional people and tasteless headlines, the idea of making newsworthy, well-written pieces is minimal.  While there are some great perks to this work, it can get sidetracked with fame, recognition, and greed.
4 STARS: Chris Rock needed this movie. Chris Rock fans also needed this movie. Top Five is undeniably an amusing reflection of selecting and ranking who or what is most important in any given subject.
Since no one dared to show love to the ladies of hip-hop, here’s my Top Five Female Lyricists of All Time:
•    Lauryn Hill
•    MC Lyte
•    Lil’ Kim
•    Nicki Minaj
•    Foxy Brown
Honorable Mention: Queen Latifah
Who’s in your Top Five?
Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

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