Being a comedian is no easy chore. I think dealing with the expectations of always being funny would get old after some time. Just like every musician wants to be an athlete and vice versa, I think every comedian wants to be taken seriously at some point. That is why once a comic makes it big, the first thing it seems they want to do is do the “serious movie”. Sometimes that choice works, like Adam Sandler in “Punch Drunk Love “ and sometimes not so much like Jim Carrey in “The Number 23”, don’t remember that one? Well Jim Carrey is glad you don’t. One comedien who has stared to test the drama waters is Chris Rock, but he has yet to jump all the way in, instead he mixes comedy with drama, where you get to still see the Chris Rock you love, plus that little extra. While those movies have been hit and miss, see “2 Days in New York” he hasn’t had that great one, until now.
Andre Allen (Chris Rock) has been called the funniest person on the planet and had a hit movie series called “Hammy” that made him rich and famous. Andre though is tried of being funny and with his new film about a slave revolt in Haiti; he wants to finally be taken seriously. With the movie opening, it is time for Andre to promote the movie and someone arranges for a reporter named Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) to follow him around for the day. After a rough start, Andre eventually opens up, especially after he finds out that like him, she is a recovering addict. They walk around New York City as Andre gets ready for his wedding to Erica (Gabrielle Union), who is a reality star. As the day progresses, both Andre and Chelsea experience the turmoil in their lives, and work to find a common ground while helping Andre find his funny again.
As you watch this film, you can’t help to think that Chris Rock is telling his story, even more so since he also wrote and directed the film. While it is not autobiographical, instead it is a film about people wanting to try to do something else, when they maybe haven’t quite mastered what they are doing now. Rock came up with the story idea and wanted to follow through with it, and the end result is a really well done movie. You get to see Rock be Chris Rock, making you crack-up, but also show you his, touching, human side. Rock also brings out all his friends, everyone from Kevin Hart, Adam Sandler (finally doing a good movie), Whoopi Goldberg, and even Jerry Seinfeld, who makes it rain in a strip club. The conversations between Rock and Dawson, feel more like two people talking than two people reading a script, and it is that natural feel that makes the film feel grounded in reality, and not like the “reality” on TV. Rock has played some great characters over the years, but after watching “Top Five”, Andre Allen will be number one role on my list.