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Stars: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, Jay Pharoah.

Director: Chris Rock

Chris Rock scores a notable triple as star, writer and director of this memorably scabrous swipe at Show Business.

The basic storyline is simple.

Rock plays a stand-up comedian who, having hit the low heights as a movie star playing a talking bear called Hammy, sees his attempt at becoming a serious actor with Uprize! – a dramatisation of an 18th century uprising in Haiti – biting the dust at the box-office.

When Rock, who is about to marry self-centred reality TV star Gabrielle Union, agrees to talk to New York Times journalist Rosario Dawson, he ends up having to face his past, triggering off a geyser of great gags, most of them lewd, crude and disgracefully funny.

And unforgettably – and bitingly - racist as well: Rock’s brave and all-too vivid satirical portrait of the reality of being a black performer in America takes no prisoners.

The strong and serious subtext beneath the plentiful stand-up-style gags hits hard.

Rock’s effective swipes at racism are peppered with filthy gags - Cinderella gives a hand job in exchange for the slipper, an errant lover suffers an appalling eye-watering fate involving a tampon soaked with hot sauce; and there's a splendid swipe at John F Kennedy’s alleged sexual relationship with Marilyn Monroe.

Plus, there is a lurid sex scene involving hookers and feathers that alone should ensure the film’s screening on Channel 4.

And, eerily reminding me of some people at press shows who keep tedium at bay by reading emails on their I-phones, Rock showcases a woman in the audience reading her laptop during a near empty screening of Uprize!.

Yes, it’s a filthy film by most standards. But it’s also genuinely funny and the plentiful satirical swipes really do draw comic blood.

Eat your heart out, Woody Allen!

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 08 May 2015