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Movie Review

Top Five

MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language throughout and some drug use.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Comedy Drama
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 5, 2014 (limited)
December 12, 2014 (wide—975 theaters)
DVD: March 17, 2015
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Chris Rock … Andre
Adam SandlerAdam Sandler
Rosario DawsonActress
Whoopi Goldberg … Actress
Kevin Hart … Actor
Gabrielle Union … Actress
Jerry Seinfeld … Actor
Tracy Morgan … Actor
Romany Malco … Benny
Hayley Marie Norman … Tammy
Cedric the Entertainer … Actor
J.B. Smoove … Actor
more »
Director: Chris Rock
Producer: Paramount Pictures Entertainment
Paramount Pictures
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

When going to view a movie for review on this site, I often go in with one question on my mind. This helps me to center my thoughts and to shape my reactions to a particular film. As a film fanatic, I want to experience “good” movies, so I walk into a theater expecting to enjoy myself. Besides, isn’t that what movies are supposed to do for us? Why else would we pay the entrance fees except to escape from the doldrums or madness of our own lives for a moment?

The question I have in the back of my mind when I sit in my theater seat is, “Should a Christian who is endeavoring to honor God in their life (even in their entertainment choices) watch this movie?” Then, at the end of the movie, I ask myself an additional question: “Was it good?” For “Top Five” the answer to both questions is a resounding NO!

Funnyman Chris Rock acts as writer, director, and star of “Top Five.” Rock plays Andre Allen, a stand-up comedian who after years of success in comedy and movies (and the oft-accompanying years of drug and alcohol abuse) wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Now that he is sober, Andre wants to stop playing “Hammy the Bear”, the role that made him a household name; his new movie—a serious film—takes on the topic of a slave revolution in Haiti. Andre realizes that comic fame has had its costs and wants to change his life direction and move forward. He is getting married to Erica Long (Gabrielle Union), a reality TV star of her own right, who hopes to continue their notoriety by having their wedding televised on the Bravo network. To complicate matters, Andre is saddled with a lengthy interview by a reporter, Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) who writes for a paper that he hates.

Let me just say that this film, by previews, had a lot of promise. I am a big fan of Chris Rock as a comedian and entertainer. He has been able to keep his finger on the pulse of the nation and in very funny fashion has been able to translate that to the American public. So when I saw that this film was his brainchild and that he is even serving as the producer, I was prepared to love this film. Then, when I saw the cornucopia of comedian star power in this film (including such powerhouses as Tracy Morgan, Sherri Shepherd, J.B. Smoove, Cedric the Entertainment, Michael Che, and Leslie Jones), I worried that I would have to take an oxygen tank into the theater for fear of running out of air from laughing. Alas, it was not to be.

I am not saying the film is not funny. The problem is that I had to spend more time cringing from the horribly crude language and salacious and gratuitous nudity and sexuality. The film has fallen victim to the apparent Hollywood cultural belief that to be “funny” comedians have to berate their audiences with epithets and dirty talk.

Sad thing is that the movie has a point to make. Andre is sober. He has managed to find success and is hoping to reinvent himself to maintain his industry staying power. It offers commentary on what it means to live truthfully in an era when “reality” TV spins tall tales of falsehoods. It’s just difficult to justify spending your hard-earned money to be visually and verbally assaulted in the name of entertainment.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—A great and funny adult film that gives us much to think about. Crude and vulgar, it surely is, but the issues of honesty and reinventing oneself at its core are common to all. Should not be seen by anyone who is easily offended. For everyone else, prepare to cringe—and to laugh. Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson are superb together. FYI—there is no hate on display here.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Dennis D. McDonald, age babyboomer (USA)

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