""Top Five" smartly looks beyond its protagonist's problems to ask bigger questions, mainly the one referencing its title, which involves attempts by several characters to list their favorite hip hop artists. It's a canny means of exploring how no measure of talent can account for personal taste. Co-produced by Kanye West and Jay-Z — with an executive producer credit going to The Roots' Questlove — "Top Five" doesn't just explore the challenges of finding creative satisfaction, but owes its existence to some of the people faced with that very question. In spite of its silly attitude, the movie asks real questions about the tension between show business and artistic desire.
There are more accomplished cinematic achievements that deal with the same issue — most recently, Alejandro G. Iñarritu's "Birdman — but "Top Five" embeds it in the same lightweight attitude of the commercial business it assails. The humor is simple but not insubstantial. "I don't feel like doing funny movies any more," Andre tells one journalist, but for Rock, "Top Five" proves that's hardly the case. " - Eric Kohn