18 April 2015 | The_late_Buddy_Ryan
Okay, how about an action comedy in English (with Kreyol subtitles) about a slavery-fighting bear?
Eight stars while Rosario Dawson's on screen, otherwise six. Chris Rock is Andre Allen, a successful standup comic who's arrived at his "Stardust Memories" moment—he's done a couple of dumb action comedies about a crime-fighting bear and wants to redeem himself with a serious film about Haitian slave rebels that nobody wants to see. Some of the plot mechanics are a little creaky, some of the comic set pieces are just distracting (especially the gross-out foursome with Cedric and the topheavy hookers), but the two leads have great chemistry, and the scenes with the two of them just "wandering around bullshitting" (as Ethan Hawke says in "Before Midnight") are totally engaging.
The comedy sideshow stuff is hit or miss. An extended sequence with Tracy Morgan, Leslie Jones et al. as Andre's old cronies from the 'hood—maybe meant to illustrate Chris Rock's claim that he was only the tenth funniest guy on his block—mostly hits; the shtick with J.B. Smoove coming on to every plus-size woman he meets mostly misses (except when Gabourey Sidibe tells him to knock it off...). Romcom convention dictates that the two leads have a falling out that keeps Rosario out of the picture for a while, which requires a nonsensical plot twist and results in a few flat scenes near the end, but all in all it's an entertaining film.
Maybe the example of Louis CK has encouraged Chris Rock to base his character more on his own life, instead of playing, e.g., a dweeby investment banker ("I Think I Love My Wife"); as with "Louie," the NYC locations are a big part of the story. He claims that this is the "blackest" film he's made so far, but I have to say that a standup guy from Bed-Stuy who remakes an Eric Rohmer classic ("My Wife"), costars with Julie Delpy ("Two Days in New York") in a film set in Tribeca and steals from Preston Sturgess and Woody Allen is my kind of postracial auteur.