Chris Rock has been in a lot of movies, but heís never been in one where he plays, well, someone real. Iím not sure Rockís acting skills are quite up to that, but I Think I Love My Wife tries so hard that for the most part it works. Chris Rock has finally made a good movie. Itís his sophomore directorial effort and itís such a 180 from his first, Head of State, that itís like heís become a completely different person since depressing us all with his badly constructed political process satire four years ago.
Based on a sophisticated French movie called Chloe in the Afternoon, I Think I Love My Wife casts Rock as a married man named Richard. Richard has a wife, two kids, and a great job. He loves his job, he loves his kids, his wife is beautiful, smart, and a great mother. Richard is bored out of his mind.
Richardís also pretty normal. Every relationship hits that place where things just seem to have gone completely flat. In the case of Richard and his wife Nikki (Gina Torres), itís sex thatís a big part of the problem. She doesnít want it anymore. Richard, being a man thatís not dead, does. Someone wiser than me once said that when sex is going alright itís ten percent of the relationship, when itís not, itís ninety percent. I Think I Love My Wife chronicles Richardís struggle not to succumb to the ninety percent boredom and sexual frustration that plagues him and end up cheating on the woman that he loves (he thinks he loves?) in spite of almost overwhelming temptation.
The movie takes risks, and they donít always work. The ending for instance, is so bizarre and far out in left field that itís grating. The script falls for jokes that are sometimes, much too easy. Donít get me wrong, thereís plenty of originality mixed in here too, itís kind of like a comedy teeter-totter. For every smart, perfectly timed joke thereís a lame gag in which Rock squeezes too much lotion out of a bottle because heís overexcited. The same give and take can be found in Chris Rockís directing. Heís a little unorthodox. Most of the movie looks good, occasionally it does not. The whole project is the work of a guy learning on the job. But heís learning fast, and despite some problems, I Think I Love My Wife is complex and smart. It says all the poignant things that Rock manages to say so well in his comedy act, but does it with more finesse and charm.
A lot of the credit has to go to the script Chris co-wrote with comedian Louis CK. Some might remember CK from his short-lived Showtime sitcom ĎLucky Louieí. Alright letís face facts, it wasnít great. But one of the things which was good about ĎLucky Louieí was the amount of effort CK put into making the show feel real. He fought to create a half hour comedy about real people doing real things, with real problems. He brings that same sense of down to earth realism to I Think I Love My Wife. By combining it with Chris Rockís talent for take no prisoners, relevant social humor theyíve found something that works.
Reviewed By: Josh Tyler
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