I Think I Love My Wife ***
Directed by Chris Rock
Written by Chris Rock and Louis C.K. based on the film "Chloe in the Afternoon" written by Eric Rohmer
Chris Rock as Richard Cooper
Kerry Washington as Nikki Tru
Gina Torres as Brenda Cooper
Steve Buscemi as George
Edward Herrmann as Mr. Landis
Samantha Ivers as Tracy
Wendell Pierce as Sean
90 Minutes(Rated R for pervasive language and some sexual content. )
They are all going through it. Sandler did it with "Click" and now Chris Rock is going through it with "I Think I Love My Wife." These comedians that are used to strong raunchy humor are going through their "Wake up, all grown up" phases. This means that they make a film with a small amount of their usual comedy to please their fans, but at the same time they are making a film with enough drama to show their fans that they are ready for something a little different. To be fair, Sandler was in both "Punch Drunk Love" and "Spanglish" before doing "Click," but the latter film was really the first "Adam Sandler" movie, wherein he just acted in the former two. And Chris Rock has shown that he is capable of doing a film with a slightly dramatic script, even if his performance doesn't reflect this well. "I Think I Love My Wife" becomes a worthy comedy/drama that is as clever as it is heartbreaking, and as hilarious as it is somewhat thought provoking.
Rock plays Richard Cooper, one of the only black men at the law firm that he works in. On second thought, he isn't the only black man-there is also the janitor, the cleaning crew, the elevator operator, etc. Therefore he thinks that he is pretty high up in the company, and is proud of himself for all he accomplished. He has a beautiful wife, two great kids, and a family life that he thought he could only dream about. But his only problem is that he is bored out of his "effin'" mind. Richard likes to dream about other women. He claims that he will never touch one, and that it is alright to look at women that he will never see again. It even causes him to buy a shirt in a color that he hates because the beautiful woman that sold it to him said it looked great on him. Richard begins to find himself in too deep with his old friend Nelson's former girlfriend Nikki visits him for a favor. Richard had a little crush on Nikki when she and Nelson were dating, and he hates to find out that she hasn't changed at all. And what is worse is that she seems to be somewhat interested in him as well. Richard tries to keep telling himself that he loves his wife, and that his new found friendship with Nikki is not wrong, but he finds it difficult when she keeps showing up to his office every afternoon, and as he watches his secretaries and those who work around him shoot him dirty looks throughout the day. At the same time, his wife Brenda begins to notice that he is acting very differently lately, and intends to find out why.
The films biggest flaw may be Chris Rock himself. While his script offers a fair balance of comedy and drama, the moments where he inserts comedy seem more like stand up that character humor. And his delivery or topics like Michael Jackson and Viagra just sound like he is delivering a joke to a few hundred people in a concert hall and finds it impossible to stay into character. There is a scene with him and his wife having dinner with another married couple that could fit into the flow, but the comedy that is throughout is just Rock doing stand up in front of three other people, and there is not an inch of Richard Cooper in that scene at all. Rock also sits behind the camera, and his editing work is a little sketchy. There isn't any real flow to the entire film, and since his first directing job was in "Head of State" it is clear that he still needs work in that field. I can appreciate the fact that the Brenda character is a decent, pretty woman and not some ugly and horrible woman. There is a seriously dilemma, and it is clear that Richard is confused. His wife is a lovely woman, and so is his family. Why should he throw it all away for a young skirt? If this went the "Norbit" route and had Chris Rock in a fat suit, than. . .well, I don't even want to think about it. Background work by Steve Buscemi as the man who has the life that Rock wishes he has, and Edward Herrmann as his boss is decent, and for once a white character isn't made out to be some goofy caricature. "I Think I Love My Wife" is Chris Rock finally getting a little older, and for the most part he succeeds. It is funny enough, and has enough drama to please even the females. This is a fine effort, and a very enjoyable little film.