Your mileage may vary on inside-track Hollywood comedies. Among the greats, there are biting satires like The Player or Swimming With Sharks and broader, sillier works like Tropic Thunder or Bowfinger, but the kind of rarefied air in which they largely unfold can sometimes be suffocating.
Thankfully, that's not the case with Top Five, Chris Rock's first project as a writer-director since 2007's I Think I Love My Wife, and inarguably his best so far. With a semi-autobiographical approach, the film clearly has a lot of influences from other films but thrives on a brand of charm that is entirely its own.
Andre Allen (Rock) is a stand-up comedian turned movie star who is best known for a trilogy of cringe-making comedy movies in which he stars as a crime-fighting bear called Hammy.