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Chris Rock gives the romcom genre a playful and provocative spin as writer, director and star of this semi-autobiographical movie.

Having won fame and fortune wearing a furry suit as Hammy the Bear in a trilogy of lowbrow buddy-cop films, stand-up comedian-turned-Hollywood star Rock now wants to be taken seriously and also fears he’s lost his funny bone since he stopped drinking. But both his fans and critics are giving the thumbs down to the earnest historical drama he has just made about the Haitian Revolution.

With days to go before his high-profile LA wedding to a reality TV star (Gabrielle Union), he is spending the day in Manhattan promoting his misbegotten movie and has grudgingly agreed to be accompanied by Rosario Dawson’s New York journalist. As the duo pass the day walking and talking, their flirtatious chemistry becomes increasingly apparent.

Unlike his screen alter ego, Rock need have no fear of losing his ability to make people laugh. The jokes fly thick and fast on race, rap, sex, celebrity; you name it. And there are some hilarious flashbacks to his heavy-drinking past, including an uproariously crude episode when a hotel-room tryst with two women turns into an unwelcome four-way when Cedric the Entertainer’s larger-than-life promoter bursts in upon the scene.