After all of the amazingly spot-on quotes Chris Rock has given over the last two weeks, we almost forgot he has a movie to promote. Top Five, written, directed by, and starring Rock, hits theaters Friday and brings with it a pack of today’s most hilarious comedic voices. Aside from great cameos, the film is an accurate look at the concept of celebrity culture (reality stars included). As Andre Allen, Rock plays a successful movie star at a crossroads in his career. He wants to be taken seriously but loses sight of what he’s best at after fat Hollywood check for a Tracy Jordan-esque franchise and too much drinking. Uprize, a super serious depiction of the Haitian revolution is supposed to put him back on top, but all anyone wants to talk about is his upcoming wedding.
Don’t let the Golden Globe snub fool you, because this is definitely one to check out (and funnier than Birdman — no shade). If you need further convincing, here are some things to know before hitting the theater.
Top Five features VH1’s own Karlie Redd
Reality TV also plays a large role in the film. Gabrielle Union plays Andre’s reality star fiancé (who is filming their wedding weekend for an upcoming Bravo special). Let’s hope she turned to Karlie for tips on how to successfully become a reality star. Another cameo in the flick? MTV’s own Josh Horowitz.
There are tons of funny people but the film has serious heart.
Not to be confusing, you will laugh at this movie — so much so you may want to avoid it on dates, if only to protect your significant other from hearing you snort. There’s also gross-out humor and jokes that make you giggle even though you shouldn’t. But at its heart, Top Five is about a man losing sight of himself. After years of monetary success, the pointed questions of a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson) force megastar Andre Allen (Rock) to confront whether what he’s doing is any good. There are multiple “this is your life” moments — where Allen sees where he’s headed, and where he could be going — that cause some serious priority evaluation (in the span of, oh, 12 hours).
Acknowledging the thoughtful nature of the comedy, Dawson believes her director made a “proper film.”
It borrows from Woody Allen and Richard Linklater
During their interview, Andre and Chelsea drive from luxury jewelers to posh hotels, and wander the streets of the West Village — which is not exactly the “bad neighborhood” Andre’s assistant (J.B. Smoove) believes it to be. It’s one of those marathon days/dates that exist only in films like Before Sunrise and Annie Hall, both of which were apparent inspirations for Rock: “It’s a Linklater movie! I’m Ethan [Hawke], she’s Julie [Delpy], we’re walking around New York and talking,” he told TimeOut New York, adding that the film shares similarities with Woody Allen films “without robbing him.”
Saturday Night Live cast members of past and present are fully representing
You’re forgiven if you missed Rock’s short-lived stint on the legendary late-night show. He left after three seasons for In Living Color, but his time at 30 Rock arguably helped jumpstart his career. Top Five pays homage to his comedy roots, and shows us how beneficial it is to be a part of the show with cameos from various cast members. When he’s chilling in the club with his fellow celebrities, there’s Adam Sandler (as himself). When Andre kicks it with his family and childhood friends, we get Michael Che, Jay Pharaoh, Leslie Jones, and Tracy Morgan. Rock even thanked his former SNL boss Lorne Michaels at the film’s New York premiere: “I’ve known him 20 years, and I haven’t been broke a day since.” Can you say that about your job?
It will make you think of hot sauce in a whole new way.
In one of the more graphic scenes, Chelsea recounts a spicy way she made her jerk of a boyfriend (Workaholics’ Anders Holm) pay for embarrassing her in front of friends. Hint: a tampon is also involved. There were other things causing trouble in their relationship that are open for discussion, but this specific moment is one you won’t be able to shake. It will also bring a different meaning to the popular Workaholics catchphrase “tight butthole.”
Top Five is in theaters now. In the video below, Smoove describes how Rock used his experience in standup to create the film.