I Think I Love My Wife

I Think I Love My Wife

2007, R, 90 min. Directed by Chris Rock. Starring Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, Steve Buscemi, Edward Herrmann.

REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., March 23, 2007

After 2003’s Head of State, Chris Rock returns to directing with his sophomore effort, a remake of the Eric Rohmer film Chloe in the Afternoon.

Comparing the two filmmakers is at best a ridiculous endeavor. A onetime editor of Cahiers du Cinéma and French New Wave filmmaker, Rohmer is known for his meditations on triviality that break open the human experience with comic pathos. Onetime SNL regular, Rock is known as the voice of a zebra in Madagascar. Although I’m actually a Chris Rock fan, it wasn’t easy to enjoy this unfunny mess.

While Rohmer’s film is a subtle, stylish meditation on identity and marriage, Rock’s effort is about as subtle as a loud fart during morning mass. Husband and proud father of two Richard (Rock) and his goal-oriented wife, Brenda (Torres), suffer from a caged, bourgeois existence whereby trips to Costco and weekend brunches replace intimacy and romance. As a result, the über-frustrated Richard fantasizes about nearly every woman he sees, particularly during his daily work commute to Manhattan. But aside from his sexless marriage, obsessive fantasies, and wandering eye, Richard’s life is as right as rain. Then the gorgeous and teasing Nikki (Washington) wanders into his office. An “old friend,” Nikki’s character is about as well developed as a Playboy centerfold. In need of help, she starts visiting Richard at work, and the two reignite a platonic friendship, while Richard finds himself lying to his wife and fantasizing more about Nikki. As in all morality tales, everything eventually comes to a head, and Richard must decide where his allegiances lie.

Kudos to Rock for making a modern-day film that actually endorses family and responsibility, but the movie is neither stylistically innovative nor particularly entertaining. In fact, Nikki is so annoying that it’s hard to believe Rock’s character is a big enough dolt to actually sacrifice his life so much to her manipulations. The reality of marriage, commitment, temptation, and routine are all ripe subjects for modern-day comic drama. But in the hands of co-writers Rock and Louis C.K. (HBO’s canceled Lucky Louie), the movie becomes a weak rethinking of a quality film.

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More Chris Rock Films
Top Five
Chris Rock is on a roll with this funny yet pointed comedy, which he wrote and directed, and also stars in.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Dec. 12, 2014

Head of State
On stage, Chris Rock is a force to be reckoned with, a shrewd and sharp-tongued stand-up comic with real balls. So why does he come ...

Steve Davis, April 4, 2003

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I Think I Love My Wife, Chris Rock, Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, Steve Buscemi, Edward Herrmann

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