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Chris Rock showed up at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival with a comedy under his arm and the hope of finding distribution. He ignited a fierce bidding war once his third directorial effort, Top Five, started screening. In the end, Paramount Pictures emerged victorious, and the studio quickly cut together the first trailer for the film, which you can see above (via the Paramount YouTube page).
In the film, Chris Rock plays a version of himself. Andre Allen is a former comedian who has endured the highs and lows of the entertainment business. At his peak, he was filling arenas with people begging for his stand-up. And his low… well, he was making action-comedy pictures based on a police officer bear:
Over the course of the movie, Allen (Chris Rock) analyzes the moves that he has made while being interviewed by a beautiful reporter from the New York Times (played by Rosario Dawson). The set up allows Rock the chance to reminisce on crazy stories from his past – as when a drugged-up club manager (played by Cedric the Entertainer) meets him on the road. It also allows Allen to interact with the people in his life now – the industry hanger-ons, as well as his family and friends from back home.
As you can tell from the trailer above, Chris Rock leaned on pretty much everyone that he knows for small parts in Top Five. In addition to himself and Rosario Dawson, you can spot comedian Brian Regan, Gabrielle Union, J.B. Smoove, Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan and more. A few names aren’t in the trailer, though, You NEED to look out for Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld – each playing themselves in an hysterical strip-club scene, where Seinfeld actually makes it rain on dancers. I kid you not. What is the deal with these sticky dollar bills?
At the time of its festival run, I wrote that Chris Rock’s Top Five is "an unapologetically raunchy, nasty, filthy, dirty but perpetually entertaining comedy," and went to far as to explain:
Top Five gives Chris Rock a chance to chomp down on the hand that normally feeds him. And he essentially takes a machete, douses the blade with gasoline, ignites the lethal sword and starts swinging at all types of obvious but still deserving targets."
What I’m surprised about is that Paramount is rushing to get this movie into theaters. Top Five has a December 5 limited release, and will go wider on December 12th. There is talk that Paramount might want this to be in the awards race. Possible? We shall see.