Top Five (2014) – Dir: Chris Rock (I Think I Love My Wife)

In this charmingly dull attempt at a subversion of the romantic comedy – we find a story that is neither funny, nor a genuine reflection of love – it is about a comedian, but it is a sad, boring film and though it does take the formula of the romance film and copy and paste structurally onto the screen, all there is to the subversive attempt is to cut off the ending.

The opening sequence of Tropic Thunder (as terrible in its cringe humour, as it is,) more thoroughly explores the themes that this film fails to do in its entire 102 minutes.

Chris Rock is Andre Allen, a successful comedy actor who got his start as a stand-up comedian. He publicly declares that he’s done doing funny movies, after a terrible popcorn trash movie, Hammy the Bear and its many sequels, loved by morons – who at last are the majority.

Some think that he’s tired of making crap films. The truth is he wants to be a serious actor because he doesn’t think he’s funny anymore, now that he’s sober.

His first attempt at being a serious actor fails miserably – a film about the uprising of slaves who murder a LOT of white people. Nobody wants to see Allen not being funny.

The core of this story is Allen being interviewed by a (very attractive) New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson.) Allen doesn’t like reporters, but she promises to do right by him if he gives her some honest answers.

Both the reporter and Allen are alcoholics in recovery – not surprisingly this topic is not explored beyond the surface details that are well known and boring in their lack of insight/depth.

Chris Rock is playing himself, but none of his lines leave any real impact. The interview might be a great puff piece, but the questions and answers are relatively without gravity.

This film expresses nothing very well. It might try to tell a story about a guy who forgets why he loves his work. But if that’s what this film is supposed to be about, then I could let everything else go, to express that sentiment powerfully. It doesn’t. I hated Funny People (2009) but at least there was an attempt there at exploring something, although it covered a lot of the same ground.

Allen is due to be married in the morning to a vapid reality tv star. But he is falling in love with the reporter, (I’m not feeling it, either.) Will the reporter and Allen throw caution to the wind and get together? I don’t know. Do we care? No.

The guy isn’t emotionally invested in the wedding. Is this a natural guy thing? Maybe. But when Chris Rock throws a few lines about it, I don’t believe him – and you’d think being a stand-up he’d be able to rant convincingly on a topic he cares about. We’ve seen him do this plenty of times in comedy shows.

Why does he think a film doesn’t require effective expression? Why does he think when he writes the script and performs the part, that his samey same tried and true so-called story means he can’t effectively express something – an emotion, an idea, a joke, an opinion?

It isn’t explicitly stated in the film, but ‘top five’ refers to your top five favourite rappers. Mine are Rhett and Link, Eminem, Scribe, Savage, Ice T.

0 stars

Published by Mikebprowriter

My sense of humour is absurdist, inwardly bleak, caustic and morose, self-referential, rebellious and defiant, even in some cases sadistic, but overall sincere and even in the tragedies, hopeful.

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