Monday, July 28, 2008

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE - in which Chris Rock neuters himself

You can lose lots of money chasing women, but you will NEVER lose women chasing money.Poor Chris Rock. He has a successful career as a stand-up comedian who specialises in aggressive, outlandish commentary on relations between the sexes and relations between the races. He's appeared in, and made a couple of, movies but each time he essentially plays the on-stage Chris Rock character. In DOGMA, for instance, he's Chris Rock as the thirteenth disciple - loud, funny and pissed off AND a disciple.

The problem with I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE is that Chris Rock has delusions of grandeur. Admirably he decides to break out of the Chris Rock persona and make a straight family drama about a bored married man tempted into infidelity. (it's a remake of Eric Rohmer romatic-comedy cum morality tale, L'AMOUR L'APRES-MIDI). We know Chris Rock is serious because he's wearing glasses, a moustache and a suit and because he only lets his loud, angry persona explode for a few moments in the movie. So, first up, fans of Chris Rock, of which I am one, shouldn't approach this film for classic Chris Rock humour.

That aside, how does I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE work as a semi-serious discourse on the pros and cons of married life? Not brilliantly, and that's fundamentally the fault of the scriptwriters - Rock and Louis CK. They cast Gina Torres as the boring suburban wife and Kerry Washington as the temptress Nikki Tru but give neither of them anything to do except be whiny and seductive respectively. With such two-dimensional options, the central character's moral dilemma seems two-dimensional too. There's no real sense of danger. There's no real sense of why someone as hot and vapid and Nikki would go for this suburban schlub. And frankly, there's no sense of why someone as mature and composed as his wife would stick with him either.

So you have this semi-straight, two-dimensional family drama for an hour and a half which is boring and bland but, hey, at least Chris is trying to break out. But then, the writers wimp out and give us the most bizarre, tone-breaking, vomit-inducing ending I've seen all year, with two of the characters declaring their love by means of song. Ye gods. Did no one on set have the balls to say, "Chris, seriously, NO!"

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE was released in 2007 and is available on DVD.

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