Best of the Chris Rock Show—Volume 2 (2001)
"Freedom is Bobby Brown's perrogative. Free Bobby Brown! It's not Bobby's fault that New Edition broke up. DNA evidence will show that Bobby Brown was not even in Florida at the time."- Chris Rock
Stars: Chris Rock
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (contains language and material not suitable for children)
Run Time: 1h:26m:45s
Release Date: 2001-08-07
DVD ReviewStanding in front of a silly "progress report" on the African-American race, Chris Rock chronicles the highs and lows of the culture in recent years. For instance, Colin Powell moves things forward, and Mike Tyson "puts us back by speaking in public." Rock's fiery, yet amicable persona works perfectly for this type of humor, and the result is hilarious. He injects plenty of silliness into some telling criticisms of people of all races. With a straightforward, energetic delivery, Rock is endearing even while ridiculing the shortcomings of his audience.
The Best of the Chris Rock Show—Volume 2 features a selection of his funniest sketches from recent episodes and presents his considerable appeal. Some of his top moments involve surveys with regular people about both serious and absurd issues. In the Confederate Flag Survey, Rock travels to South Carolina and asks residents what they think about the state flag, which still contains the Confederate symbol. While speaking to them, he offers his own replacements, which include "South Carolina is O.K.K.K." and placing the stars of the WB over the Confederate stars. Almost as funny as Rock are the bemused reactions of the people being interviewed, who usually either laugh or give extremely confused expressions. Another enjoyable sketch has him searching the gyms of New York for the next "great white boxer." The responses from local boxers and trainers are fun, as they all can't think of any talented white fighters in the area.
Chris Rock also thrives in skewering the conventional aspects of society in a laugh-inducing manner. His mock auditions to become the new Monday Night Football announcer for ABC are classic. Jim Lampley plays the straight man perfectly while Rock puts a silly take on an excited commentator. The after-school special is given hilarious treatment in Daddy Still Has a Flattop, a supposedly serious look at a child's problems that are caused by his father's passé haircut. The announcer uses a direct tone with lines like "ten years after Kid n' Play" to describe the sadness of this topic. Rock also takes picketing to the extreme with "Free Bobby Brown"—his fight to get the once-popular singer out of jail. At the mall and the beach, he asks people questions about Bobby Brown in amusing fashion. By the end, a large group greets Bobby as he appears to leave jail because of their efforts.
This disc also contains a collection of "Taxi Driver Confessions"—Rock's spoof on HBO's popular Taxicab Confessions television specials. Playing a goofy cab driver, he has fun with passengers who sometimes don't appreciate his pranks. In one of the best moments, two young girls freak out after Rock tells them a mouse is in the car. The comedy is taken even further when he takes out traps to supposedly catch the rodents. In another fun moment, he guzzles a bottle of alcohol while driving, then cries profusely about his wife leaving him. The passengers in the back seat are not amused. The gimmick of Rock as a cab driver creates wonderful comedy and provides some of the premier moments on the show.
The Best of the Chris Rock Show—Volume 2 contains a score of inventive sketches that go above and beyond the expected level of comedy. In one supposed television news brief, a man has gone on a "smack rampage." This dire situation involves a crazy guy who is smacking everyone upside the head. This strange premise works here because it's utterly ridiculous, but everyone plays it straight and creates hilarity. Chris Rock's blend of humor works in this type of environment, where there are few boundaries. HBO allows for edgier, more vulgar material than network television, and he thrives in this format. While every sketch doesn't succeed, the high points rank with some of the funniest comic moments on television in recent years.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Considering its television origins, the full-frame transfer on this disc works nicely with no noticeable defects of any kind. The production levels don't match a feature film, so the expected quality is lower than the usual release. However, this transfer still contains decent colors and a clear picture to present the sketches in an impressive manner.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: Once again, the sound quality is not expected to be unbelievable because the show comes from HBO. However, the 2.0-channel Dolby Surround transfer showcases the comedy in fine form, with understandable dialogue throughout the production. While there's a limited amount of complexity and force on this track, it works effectively for this release and has no major shortcomings.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 34 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Extras Review: This disc's lone extra feature is an extensive biography of Chris Rock that rivals the best of its type on any release. It offers a decent amount of information on his recent films like Nurse Betty and Down to Earth. The material covers his wide array of comic endeavors throughout his impressive career, including the HBO special Bring the Pain. It also describes his book and the HBO show, with interesting material provided on each subject.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsFilled with memorable moments of silliness and fun, The Best of the Chris Rock Show—Volume 2 provides plenty of entertaining comedy. No person or topic can avoid satire from Rock, who covers a wide array of subjects in fine fashion. Aided by the freedom of HBO, this show is on a different level from most late-night talk shows, and it provides near-constant humor in each episode.
Dan Heaton 2001-08-22