Director: Chris Rock
Writer: Chris Rock
Cast: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Gabrielle Union, Anders Holm
Studio: Paramount

“Top Five” remains one of my underrated favorites from 2014. That being said, it had problems. Having last watched this film as a double bill with “Birdman” didn’t help things. I don’t know if my hatred for these kinds of movies started with “Stardust Memories”, but I hate listening to actors whine about how hard life is for them. The pacing is off for shit, which makes me think that the film was heavily edited or not cut at all. Not a great sign, but far from the worst.

Having a story to tell doesn’t mean that you have to be funny. I feel that Rock wanted to do something different, but he still couldn’t shake off the expectation that he had to bring a few smirks to the audience. Let’s move past that weird plot point with Anders from Workaholics and address the biggest issue with the movie. Rock relies way too heavily on celebrity friends and obvious improve to pad out where the script wasn’t working. It’s a tool at this disposal, but it played as an obvious point of weakness.

I applaud Chris Rock for breaking out of his comfort zone, it’s just that the material needs to be there for the bold reinvention. I don’t care if he has issues with Madagascar or the Sandler movies. Work on something else and grow up as an artist. I saw “I Think I Love My Wife” and I saw the potential for a break for Rock. But, Louis CK took that ball and ran with it while Chris Rock made two “Grown Ups” movies. Sometimes, you can’t put the blame on expectations and you’ve got to find fault with the artist doing the most bitching. Still, it was good to see Tracy Morgan looking relatively healthy.



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