Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date: March 16th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Chris Rock Actors: Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, Steve Buscemi, Edward Herrmann, Welker White, Samantha Ivers, Cassandra Freeman, Christina Vidal, Eliza Coupe
f Eric Rohmer isn’t dead, he’ll wish he was. “I Think I Love My Wife” is a ridiculously incongruous – and mostly unrecognizable – take on the French classic “Chloe in the Afternoon,” attempting to delve into subjects such as love and temptation, but failing miserably at nearly everything it sets out to achieve. A laugh-less comedy, an unmoving drama, and a ragtag assemblage of feeble characters spouting pathetic dialogue, “I Think I Love My Wife” is an absolute, irredeemable wreck.
Richard Cooper (Chris Rock) is married and has two adorable children. But he’s bored with his routine family life and senselessly deprived of sex with his wife Brenda (Gina Torres). Even with a time-consuming but enjoyable bank job and meaningless sessions with an unmarried marriage counselor, he can’t help but ogle every attractive woman that walks by. When an old friend, Nikki (Kerry Washington), shows up to his office one day, looking perfectly gorgeous and making not-so-subtle passes at him, he must decide whether or not a passionate affair might solve some of his problems or increase them tenfold. After all, he does love his wife … or so he thinks.
Despite dealing with engaging topics of promiscuity, desire, true love, and seduction, “I Think I Love My Wife” is somehow unable to evoke any emotion, relation, or even pity-laughs from the audience. Loosely based on critically acclaimed material, this hipper update is a despicable jumble of genres, none decidedly prominent. At first it feels as though, with his exclusive creative control, Chris Rock (who writes, produces, and directs) will sculpt the film into a showcase for his offbeat and loudmouthed standup comedy numbers, but this is quickly superseded by scene after scene of uninspiring melodrama. What could normally play out as acceptable human conflict is overly pocked by soap-opera antics and asinine scenarios. While most of it is all done in the hopes of stirring up a few laughs, the humor is all but nonexistent.
It’s a little misleading to see the likes of Chris Rock in a film like this. From the trailers and the familiarity of his brand of comedy, this picture could have been a no-holds-barred riot. And, though many of his fans prefer him at his rudest and raunchiest, this ambitious foray into romantic drama feels premature and hastily planned.
At several points throughout the film, the plot completely hangs up; countless moments and characters are out of place or extraneous. Steve Buscemi might be the lone actor capable of injecting a bit of comic relief into this strangely serious, inherently humorless premise, but he’s too little, too late. As a midlife crisis examination, the picture is severe yet phony; as a send-up of relationship conundrums, it’s sitcom-quality at best, undeserving even of diehard Chris Rock-fan patronage. And it’s one of the longest 90-minute movies ever made.
– The Massie Twins