Rock the come­back

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

TOP FIVE Di­rected by Chris Rock. Star­ring Chris Rock, Rosario Daw­son, Gabrielle Union, Cedric the En­ter­tainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Mor­gan, Kevin Hart, An­ders Holm, Jay Pharoah, Michael Che, Sherri Shep­herd, Les­lie Jones. 16 cert, limited re­lease, 102 min An­dre Allen (Chris Rock) was once named “the fun­ni­est man in Amer­ica” but peo­ple mostly recog­nise him on the street for his hit fran­chise, Hammy the Bear, for which he dons a bear suit and a po­lice uni­form: “It’s Hammy time!” is his catch­phrase.

Determined to re­store his in­tegrity and scared that he’s lost his comic mojo since sober­ing up, Allen spends a day on pro­mo­tional du­ties for Uprize, a his­tor­i­cal epic set dur­ing the Haitian Revo­lu­tion. Chelsea Brown (Rosario Daw­son), a sin­gle mom and New York Times jour­nal­ist, rides shot­gun, while Allen’s re­al­ity star fi­ancée, Erica (Gabrielle Union), plans a lu­di­crously elab­o­rate tele­vised wed­ding event.

Just when you think that you’ve seen ev­ery­thing that stand-up, ac­tor, writer, direc­tor, pro­ducer and doc­u­men­tar­ian Chris Rock has to of­fer, he only goes and makes Chris Rock’s 8½ .

Top Five un­folds over “one fate­ful day”, which proves time enough for some of Rock’s char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally hi­lar­i­ous rants and many, many celebrity cameos: watch out for BFs Jerry Se­in­feld, Adam San­dler and Whoopi Goldberg – there will be ban­ter – and an

exquisitely de­mented mu­si­cal num­ber from DMX.

The film’s semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal di­men­sion, with a nod to Louis CK and Curb Your

It’s Hammy time: Chris Rock

En­thu­si­asm, of­fers lots of small plea­sures and a spot-on de­pic­tion of how film pro­mo­tion works: “Do it with 10 per cent more stank,” says one ra­dio en­gi­neer as the film’s hero records a sta­tion ID.

Be­neath the meta-fic­tion and the lulz lies a gen­uinely warm ro­mance in the style of Richard Lin­klater’s Be­fore

Sun­rise. Daw­son, as lu­mi­nous as ever, proves a wor­thy ver­bal spar­ring part­ner for mo­tor­mouthed Rock.

Stay tuned as the fi­nal cred­its roll for Jerry Se­in­feld’s top five hip-hop artists.

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