|I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, Steve Buscemi
Director: Chris Rock
There are some comedians who have what it takes to build a reputable career in the film industry, while others would be best left to performing on stage. Regrettably, Chris Rock falls into the latter group. Despite producing some of the best stand-up acts of the past decade, Rock’s Hollywood career has never quite blossomed the way many expected (is “Lethal Weapon 4” really still the best-looking thing on his resume?). With his latest film, “I Think I Love My Wife” (which he also directed and co-wrote with fellow comic Louis C.K.), Rock tries his hand at a serious role and fails miserably.
He stars as Richard Cooper, a successful investment banker whose marriage to his wife Brenda (Gina Torres) is going through a bit of a rough patch. Between work and raising their two children, Brenda just doesn’t have the time (or the desire) to have sex with her husband anymore and Richard is going crazy because of it. Fantasizing about sleeping with another woman becomes reality, however, when Richard’s reunited with smoking hot high school friend, Nikki (Kerry Washington). Before he knows it, Richard is lying to friends, skipping out of work, and getting into intentional fights with his wife just so he can spend time with Nikki. Which gets him thinking: do I really love my wife?
Apparently based on the critically acclaimed French film, “Chloe in the Afternoon,” by Eric Rohmer, I can only assume that Rock’s rendition has done everything in its power to ruin the original. At only 90 minutes long, the film feels almost twice that. It’s dull, tedious and, perhaps more importantly, not much happens outside of Richard and Nikki discussing his miserable family life. It’s like listening to the same conversation over and over again, despite the fact that you didn’t really care the first time. Worse yet, of all the possible candidates to play the lead, Chris Rock is the last man that should have been cast in the role. The comedian, best known for his outrageous on-stage presence, may think he’s doing us all a service by playing the character exactly the way it’s supposed to be played – docile and neutered – but Rock just isn’t a good enough actor to pull it off; especially when it’s obvious that he’d much rather be himself.
“I Think I Love My Wife” isn’t the worst movie of the year, but it’s certainly the most depressing. And not because of the subject matter, either. The film has potential (it must, if the original has earned the respect of so many filmmakers, right?), but Rock never capitalizes on any of it. The casting is all wrong (Gina Torres as the bland wife, Kerry Washington as the sexy seductress, and Steve Buscemi as the best friend), the laughs are nonexistent, all while the film continues to unravel along the way. And for the big finish? How about a quasi-musical number featuring Rock and Torres as they literally sing their problems out? Sigh. I don’t think I hate this movie. I know I do.
If Chris Rock isn’t going to put any effort into the audio commentary for his own film, then I don’t need to break my back reviewing. Simply put, the special features are just as dull as the movie itself – from the lifeless audio commentary where the writer/director runs out of material five minutes in (“We’re on a train, and now we’re moving.”), to the cookie-cutter making-of featurette that’s also included. Simply put: the movie sucks, so why should anyone care about the extras?