What we mostly see and enjoy in Chris Rock’s new film, Top Five, is a race for the best cameo. And there are many contestants: Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Vereen, DMX, Tracy Morgan, and Cedric the Entertainer. (Admittedly, the last two are in the weird zone between cameo and role.) The winners? Seinfeld and DMX. The loser? This surely goes to Whoopi Goldberg. The most unexpected cameo? Ben Vereen, who will always be Chicken George from the TV miniseries Roots to me. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Top Five, which Rock directed and wrote, is really a journey from one cameo to the next. And the vehicle for this journey is a simple story about a famous comedian, Andre Allen (Chris Rock), who is about to get married to a soulless reality TV star (the eternally gorgeous Gabrielle Union), and is spending his last day as a free man with an intelligent, hip, and beautiful journalist (Rosario Dawson), who is writing a New York Times profile about his career (which consists of lowbrow comedies). Though Rock is funny throughout the film, the story would have collapsed in the absence of the cameos. recommended (101 min.).
Director: Chris Rock
Producer: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Tony Hernandez and Lila Yacoub
Cast: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che and Jay Pharoah