Remember in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts what happens after the prince rescues Cinderella? Not missing a beat, she says, she rescues him right back. In Top Five, Rosario Dawson's Chelsea Brown tells Chris Rock's Andre Allen, Cinderella does what every woman who knows what she wants does: she leaves something behind. It's all in the shoe. Keep your eye on the gold pump.
Chris Rock's Top Five is an anomaly for high awards season: a hilarious, screwball romance with no highbrow pretensions. Add to that: stellar performances by its principles, as well as Ben Vereen, JB Smooth, Gabrielle Union, and Cedric the Entertainer. With him, ménage a trois takes on a new nasty. Rock's Andre Allen cleverly channels Woody as a comic who fears a fall from funny. The pose shows another side of Chris Rock, one glimpsed in a recent role he played opposite Julie Delpy as her American boyfriend hosting her French family for Two Days in New York: serious and bespectacled.
As in several Woody Allen films, New York is a character. Top Five showcases Harlem, the East Village, where Andre Allen tests his mettle at a comedy club; these sites give the movie its special vibe, as does a trio of surprise comic friends. At last week's premiere at Terminal 6, when asked about getting these major clowns in his film, Chris Rock noted, he could call in a few favors.
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