It’s little wonder “Sullivan’s Travels” came in at number 61 on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of the top 100 motion pictures. This is a great, great film.
Chris Rock has always been one of the most invigorating presences in the comedy scene. His comedy is confrontational, biting and hilarious. Up until this point, his foray into filmmaking has rarely matched his unique and vibrant talents, and while there are certainly exceptions, on-screen Chris Rock has usually been reduced to a much tamer and often much less funny version of himself. With Top Five, however, the gears seems to shift. Chris Rock not only shows off why he is one of the funniest people alive, but applies his humour to a surprisingly daring narrative about the value of laughter and the struggle of being an artist. The film also works as a wonderful meta-textual narrative on the state of the current Hollywood system, as well as a touching romance.
The Lady Eve is all about the game of romance. Jean has a great monologue at the beginning of the film that really shows this game in action. While sitting at a dinner table, she narrates as various women approach Charles, in an attempt to gain his attention (“Every Jane in the room is giving him the thermometer and he feels they’re just a waste of time”). She studies Charles. What makes him tick? Is he self-conscious? What kind of woman would he like? All of this is for the purpose of conning him, which she does rather well. It also shows how love (and ultimately marriage) can be a façade.