A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Top Five -- Chris Rock's showbiz comedy with romantic undertones -- is very, very funny but also very mature. Expect tons of sex talk, nudity, and innuendo, plus constant strong language ("f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bitch," the "N" word, and more). Characters have sex with prostitutes and more than one partner, and certain fetishes are shown -- as are topless women and naked male and female bottoms. The two main characters are recovering alcoholics; both are tempted several times, and one falls off the wagon and drinks a beer, then throws a violent tantrum in a store and smashes several beer bottles. There are also flashbacks that show fighting and pot smoking.
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What's the story?
Comedian-turned-actor Andre Allen (Chris Rock) has made a series of idiotic but successful comedies and now wants to do something serious -- i.e. his new movie, the Haitian slave revolt movie UPRIZE! Meanwhile, his fiancee (Gabrielle Union) is a reality TV star, so every detail of their upcoming wedding is being prepared for the cameras. And now a journalist (Rosario Dawson) is spending the day with him, trying to get him to talk about something other than the usual sound bytes. But as he begins revealing the truth about himself, it turns out that she has some dark secrets, too. Over the course of the long day, could they be beginning to develop feelings for each other?
Is it any good?
Top Five is both a showbiz comedy and a Hollywood love triangle, but everything it does is rooted in something genuine. It wrestles with the passions, fears, and frustrations of the high-risk business that is show business, not to mention everyday human anxiety around having to explain yourself -- or having to avoid unwanted attention based on celebrity. But despite all the glitz and glamour, everything comes down to a universal choice: How do you believe in yourself, and how do you follow your own heart? That, plus it's very, very funny.
Certainly one of the greatest living comedians, Rock has directed two pretty good movies -- Head of State (2003) and I Think I Love My Wife (2007) -- and has a successful, if not particularly distinguished, movie career. Now, like his character, who wishes to do something more and to tell the truth, he has directed and starred in the finest movie of his career to date. (The title refers to personal lists of favorite hip-hop artists.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Top Five's sex scenes. How are they used to help the character on his journey? Are there any scenes based on love and respect? What makes them different? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How is alcoholism portrayed in the movie? How do the characters maintain? How do they fall off the wagon, and what happens?
How does the movie portray drinking? Do you think the characters' struggle with alcoholism is portrayed realistically? Are the consequences of their addiction realistic?
How does Chris Rock represent himself here? How close do you think the character is to his real self? Is he a role model?
Why does the main character's fiancee want to be famous? What price has she paid for it?
- In theaters: December 12, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: March 17, 2015
- Cast: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union
- Director: Chris Rock
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language throughout and some drug use
For kids who love comedy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.