Chris Rock’s “Top Five” is exciting. The comedian has ruled stand-up for years, witnessing a live set you haven’t already seen on an HBO special can paralyze you with laughter, but in his movies, his comedy hasn’t made the same mark. Rock has written and directed four movies now (“I Think I Love My Wife” and “Head Of State” to name two), but his latest, “Top Five” is getting the best reviews of his career by far.
“I always say fame’s the new cocaine, people pretty much will do anything for it,” Rock told us in an interview on the eve of the movie’s well-received debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year (here’s our review), and so the movie is, of course, a look at celebrity and fame. It’s a little meta too, about a comedian-turned-film-star whose unexpected encounter with a journalist forces him to confront both the career that made him famous and the life he left behind. But Rock refrains from calling it a scathing look at celebrity. “I love being famous, it’s fine, so I wouldn’t call it scathing, [but] the new fame is hard to even explain. I don’t want to sound old, like Little Richard taking about rap records.”
Here’s the official synopsis.
Pulsing with the rhythm of his greatest stand-up, Chris Rock’s TOP FIVE takes things to the next level, reveling in the high and the low, and blending a star-studded comedic romp with an irresistible romance. TOP FIVE digs under the surface of show business, politics, rap, and the exigencies of being black and famous today—holding it all up to the light in the way only Chris Rock can. Mingling echoes of Woody Allen and Dick Gregory with the energy of Kanye West and Jay Z, TOP FIVE is an original and radically new kind of American movie. Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, TOP FIVE tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.
Starring Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, JB Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah, “Top Five” hits theaters on December 12. Watch the first clip below featuring Brian Regan.