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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 102 min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
Andre Allen (Chris Rock) is one of the most successful comedians in the USA. His role as "Hammy the Bear" has earned him millions and he also guarantees blockbuster comedies. But Andre, who started his career as a respected stand-up comedian, no longer wants to sell himself below value. Instead of slipping into a bear costume again, he dares to tackle a serious topic with his new film. But the work about a Haitian slave revolt is not well received by the press and the public. Instead, his upcoming wedding with reality star Erica Long (Gabrielle Union) is the focus of media interest. He only realizes how unhappy Andre is about this situation despite his wealth, when the charismatic New York Times journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) accompanies him for a day to conduct an extensive interview with him about his career. It will be an interview that could fundamentally change his life...
With "Top Five" Chris Rock has staged a real passion project. In fact, the comedy seems to be a very personal film. After all, Chris Rock, once celebrated for his successful stand-up programs and his disrespectful "Chris Rock Show", has also sold out well below value in comedies like "Kindsköpfe" or "Was passiert, wenn`s passiert ist" in recent years. The story of the star, who finally wants to be taken seriously again as a comedian and actor, doesn't seem to be too far away from reality. And so it's no surprise that some moments in the movie seem a bit bitter. But especially in these scenes Rock often hits the nail on the head. As amusing as many moments may be, the whole movie is filled with a certain sadness, especially with regard to the show business, which is especially reflected in the character of Andres' future bride, a reality starlet of Kim Kardashian. Statements like "If it's not filmed, it's not real" or the realization that she has nothing in life other than being accompanied by the cameras is a bitter but very apt testimony to a society marked by superficial craving for fame.
The conflict between success and artistic integrity, which is also the focus of the story, has already been very effectively implemented in "Birdman". Chris Rock, however, approaches the subject quite differently than the four-time Oscar winner. Apart from the already mentioned moments, in which the movie reveals a disarming depth, Rock also relies more and more on dialogues characterized by crude wordplay and some tastelessness, which only in two cases really overshoot the mark. Especially a disturbing sex scene, in which Cedric the Entertainer plays a leading role, the movie wouldn't have really needed it. Although this scene is supposed to illustrate Andre's low point, it could have been done a bit more subtly.
The scenes in which Andre visits family members and friends from the time before his success also seem a bit exhausting. These improvised scenes don't offer much content and actually only serve the atmosphere, but are stretched far too much. In addition, these moments are likely to lose the atmosphere they are supposed to create during dubbing. The great strength of the comedy are the long dialogue scenes between Andre and Chelsea, the moment when Andre tries himself again as a stand-up comedian after a long time, as well as the wonderfully self-ironic guest appearances of Rock's colleagues like Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld or Whoopi Goldberg.
"Top Five" leaves a somewhat ambivalent impression. On the one hand, the dialogues are extremely clever and revealing, on the other hand, the humor is at times too obscene to be able to match the well done aspects of the movie. The atmospheric recordings from New York, the good chemistry between Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson, as well as some really good jokes at least comfort you over some of the rough moments. Not a big success, but as a bitter look behind the beautiful glow of show business the film is definitely worth it. Worth seeing
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