'Top Five': Woody and Robert and Chris, Oh My

December 18, 2014 6:42 PM

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Chris Rock enters into Woody Allen territory with his new movie Top Five. During the opening scene, as Rock's hero Andre Allen strolls down a Manhattan avenue engaged in lively debate with reporter Chelsea Brown (co-star Rosario Dawson), Chelsea mentions that sometimes a "movie is just a movie." That sounds like an homage to Allen's 1980 film Stardust Memories, in which two characters are discussing the symbolic significance of the Rolls-Royce in the movie they have just watched, and one of them agonizingly concludes that "it represented... his car."

Andre Allen, like Woody's Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories, and like Joel McCrea's John Sullivan, from Preston Sturges' classic Sullivan's Travels (1941), has built a career based on making people laugh. For reasons that will become clear during the course of the story, he is no longer interested in...

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