This was the last movie I saw in the theater in 2014. I was in New York, and there were two parties: one group saw Into the Woods and the other saw Top Five. I was in category B. Now I know a lot of people will have a problem with my placement of this movie on the list. I’ll get into why in a moment.
Chris Rock directs and stars in Top Five. He plays a very famous comedian (stand-up and film) named Andre Allan, who after dealing with alcoholism and controversy sets out to rebrand himself. Before the release of his new, more serious movie about the Haitian Revolution and his big wedding with a reality TV star, he takes part in an interview with a New York Times journalist named Chelsea, played by Rosario Dawson. Andre isn’t too thrilled with the interview, and jaded by his fans’ disinterest in his new work and constant requests for returning to comedy. He soon concedes with Chelsea to be rigorously honest throughout the interview.
The film is basically a day in the life of a transitioning, typecast celebrity. It highlights the revelations he goes through with the help of this reporter as well as the struggle to be more than what you’re known for. Can you do other things in a way people can understand and accept, and does branching out mean leaving the one thing you’re known for behind? These are two of many themes the story of Top Five tackles.
That’s the first and primary thing you can praise the movie for. Of all the films I discussed so far on this countdown this is probably the most cleverly written and directed. Again, the movie delves into many themes, both of which speak to celebrities and people in general.
Top Five is ingeniously and cleverly written and directed. As Chris Rock’s directorial debut, he couldn’t have done better with this story. On the surface a lot of the film’s issues seem to only apply to celebrities. It really can apply to anyone, though. Many of us try to take on other roles and are boxed-in by the expectations and stereotypes of others. You can tell he really knew what he was doing and what he was trying to get across.
The movie is also well acted by every last individual actor. You will see that the movie wields a lengthy all-star cast. Any fan of comedy will recognize at least one person in the film, but most likely a lot more. As a high-budget production, the film also has high production value, great camerawork and a high-brow soundtrack.
Then we get to the comedy of the movie. This may be where I get the most flack, but hear me out. I am not saying the film is not funny. It’s hilarious and anyone will tell you that. I recall three or five instances in the film where I busted a gut laughing. I won’t be the one to spoil it for you, though. Honestly, the movie’s place on the list is to no fault of the film itself. The problem is with me.
This movie is different from other comedies. The modern-day format of comedy has jaded me with what is usually a never-ending onslaught of jokes. This movie is mostly about its story than its jokes. My issue is one of expectations and hype. Both were through the roof before I saw the film and before I had a chance to come back to earth. The result was unfounded disappointment.
This is an incredibly selfish reason to underrate a movie, but at least I have the sense to concede and tell you what a great film it is. Had this list been based on quality, this would be a lot higher than it is. This list, however, is based on my enjoyment of the film. I do plan to see the movie again, knowing what I’m getting into, and most likely coming out with a much higher opinion than I do now. As it stands currently I thought the movie was good where it is.
It may seem low to some, but understand that I saw a lot of good movies this year, this is one of them
I would recommend the film without a shadow of a doubt to any and all fans of comedy. You will enjoy the film just fine as long as your expectations are in the right place. Do not overestimate to a ridiculous standard like I did. I got overexcited, but I can almost guarantee you will enjoy the film. Even if you’re not big on comedy, the story is surprisingly good. Take my thoughts for what their worth. I found it good, but you may find it great.
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