Comedies are certainly the most temperamental genre for directors to get right. I mean, comedy is so subjective that how can you make it appeal to everyone? Well, I think Chris Rock has succeeded in this by a considerable margin with “Top Five”.
This is as much a strange kind of self-Biography as it is a fictional film, with Chris Rock starring as a world famous comedian who wants to move away from his comical films and become a more serious actor. We follow him over the course of one day as he struggles to maintain the pressure of both the release of his latest movie, and his wedding to a reality star. During this time a journalist follows his events as a means to compose an interview with Andre.
Right from the start, it is a very strong setup for the movie to play from. It runs along a very defined path towards two main goals, but gives plenty twists through that keep the audience interested. Almost like “Birdman” but in a very different style, we see the comedian dealing with some very harsh realities that threaten to overturn everything he has worked, and is working on to become.
But it is the comedy here that makes this such a riveting success. I mean, it is fucking great, filled with some killer lines and wonderfully enjoyable characters. All the punchlines feel so fluid in their delivery, and there is a wealth of material so that even if one joke passes by you, the next one is waiting in the wings to catch you the next time. Even a tiny visual gag relating to Adam Sandler got a proper laugh from me, the quality is outstanding. And with a stellar list of guest actors and comedian greats offering up their style to the fray, it turns this story into a genuinely loved project for the community as a whole.
Even the way New York is shot and captured is superb, it is so rare for a personal project like this to have such consistency all the way through. The colour palette is superb, the camerawork gives a very personal feel to the conversations, and the editing is to a superb standard. Sometimes in a comedy this is an aspect that can get the secondary treatment, but not here.
I am kind of stunned, this was a story that Chris Rock tried to sell to Hollywood before, and got rejected. But he knew the value in the work he was doing, and every damm bit of it shines on the screen. The Blu Ray comes with a nice behind the scenes feature that gives a lot of insight into how and why the movie got put together, and compliments the flick very well.
“Top Five” is easily a top contender for best comedy of 2015, and I don’t think that is over-selling at all. The story is great, the performances and comedic writing are brilliant, and all the time you can feel the real desire for this story to be made. I hope as a home release, more people get to check this out, it will make an excellent Friday night film with your friends.