I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE
**1/2 (out of 5)
March 16, 2007
Chris Rock as RICHARD COOPER
Kerry Washington as NIKKI TRU
Gina Torres as BRENDA COOPER
Steve Buscemi as GEORGE
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Directed by: Chris Rock
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Chris Rock is a brilliant comedian. Too bad he’s not a brilliant director and actor as well. If he were, then his new film “I Think I Love My Wife” would have been the most brilliant film of the year.
The film tells the story of Richard Cooper (Rock), an investment banker in Manhattan who has the seemingly perfect life. He has a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids and a great job that makes him plenty of money. His biggest problem is that he is bored. He’s bored with work. He’s bored with his marriage. He’s bored with his wife.
The source of excitement in the marriage is over. His wife Brenda (Gina Torres) is more interested in showing him the new drapes in the house than jumping his bones when he gets home. She doesn’t appreciate him and shoulders all the work around the house herself, later holding it against him in arguments.
Richard’s life gets turned upside-down when a gorgeous and free-spirited woman (Kerry Washington) from his past suddenly comes into his life. There’s a spark between them, and Richard finds himself spending a lot of time with her outside of his marriage. He’s challenged to choose between his stable yet boring family life and the fun-loving life of this beautiful vixen.
“I Think I Love My Wife” is at its best when it deals with the general issues of relationships and marriage, outside of race. In fact, some of these moments are directly inspired by Rock’s stand-up comedy, and these are the funniest ones in the film. When the movie settles down to tell a regular story, it does break down a bit.
But some of the movie’s observations are dead-on. Nothing rings more true in the film than when the Coopers are in a marriage counseling session, and Rock’s narration complains that the therapist doesn’t know what she’s talking about because she isn’t married, and she doesn’t have kids. Ain’t that the truth!
With any Chris Rock movie, you should expect a certain amount of racial humor, however the issues you’ll face seven to ten years in a marriage are not exclusive to any specific race. While Rock takes his jabs at us white folks, for the most part the comedy is not racially driven, which is a bit of a relief considering all the angst the country has been feeling because of everything from Michael Richards’ racism to Isaiah Washington’s homophobia.
After seeing most of Rock’s films, I realize he’s not a great cohesive director. The scripts always have problems, and there are still here in “I Think I Love My Wife.” While Rock’s predicament is somewhat realistic (although I don’t know how many of us married men have hotties like Kerry Washington pursuing us so fervently), the movie has some problems resolving itself. After all, when all is said and done, there are serious control issues in the marriage and his wife Brenda needs a swift kick in the pants to get off her high horse.
Still, this is far from a terrible movie. And the more and more I think about it, the more and more I liked it. In some deep levels, I am curious to see it again when it hits DVD.
Anyone who has been married for seven or more years knows the challenges you can face in this relationship, so the married couples will probably get the most out of this movie. In fact, even with the inconsistent comedy and flat jokes, a married couple should have a lot of fun watching the film.