ROMANTIC COMEDY; 1hr 42min
STARRING: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union
Talking the talk: Rock and Dawson
There’s not a lot trenchant crack-up Chris Rock doesn’t know about the infested shallows of celebrity. The stand-up comic turned movie star (and Top Five film-maker—his third shot at directing) is blade-sharp as Andre Allen, stand-up comic turned movie star in three cheeseball Hammy the Bear films, now shooting for serious as a rebelling Haitian slave in a non-starter drama, even while about to marry a reality-TV star (Union) on her show. Keeping up?
Against his better judgment, Andre consents to a long and winding interview with hotshot New York Times reporter Chelsea Brown (Dawson, relaxed and firing). Their conversation rolls and deepens through the day as the plainly made-for-each-others cruise Manhattan, swinging by his buddies (Tracy Morgan headlines the pack) and covering a scattershot bunch of bases from their top-five rappers to their issues with staying sober. When afternoon melds into an unforeseen evening drama, their nascent relationship takes a hairpin turn. And that’s roughly all Rock wrote, plot-wise. But with observations this penetrating, dialogue sizzling and love perfuming the streetwise air, the What is nowhere near as compulsively vital as the How.