written and directed by Chris Rock
by Bill Chambers Chris Rock's Top Five seems to begin in medias res and then backtrack, but in retrospect the opening sequence--a nicely-sustained tracking shot of Rosario Dawson and Rock taking an afternoon stroll in New York, bickering about whether Obama has actually paved the way for other minorities to become president--could be a flash-forward to the post-film future of these characters. That's kind of a comforting notion; the problem is I'd rather be watching that light relationship comedy, where they're already together and routinely engaging in these Woody Allen dialectics, than this one, in which Dawson's Chelsea and Rock's Andre do the Forces of Nature/A Guy Thing boogie on the eve of Andre's marriage to one of Bravo's many profligate reality-TV subjects (Gabrielle Union). A comic-turned-megastar who made bank starring in a cop-movie franchise as a machine-gun-toting bear (Rock may have an even lower opinion of the filmgoing public than Mike Judge), Andre is asking to be taken seriously with his newest project, Uprize, about the slave revolt in Haiti. To that end, he relents to a NEW YORK TIMES profile, even though the paper of record has never given him a good review; Chelsea is the writer they send, and she comes with something of a hidden agenda. At the risk of spoiling what that is, by the end of Top Five, one thing is abundantly clear: Chris Rock hates critics.