Acid Rock

I Think I Love My Wife

What? They’re for Panties for the Poor! Why are you women always so suspicious?

What? They’re for Panties for the Poor! Why are you women always so suspicious?

Rated 1.0

A down-on-his-luck guy with a great job and beautiful wife is tortured by a woman from his past and tempted to stray from his marital union. This is the tired premise of I Think I Love My Wife, an empty-headed, unfunny Chris Rock comedy.

When looking over Chris Rock’s 20-year film career, it’s amazing how many gutter-balls he has thrown. Movies where he’s headlined have all been bad. He’s had some funny scenes and cameos in Kevin Smith films, while his quick appearance as the rib-joint customer in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka remains his best film moment.

I Think I Love My Wife is actually Rock’s second feature directorial effort. He also helmed Head of State in 2003, and his directorial abilities haven’t improved all that much since then. The film is R-rated, which one might think would allow the normally caustic comedian to let loose a little more than in past cinematic fare. The opposite actually happens; Rock restrains himself in this picture to the point of total dullness.

He plays Richard Cooper, an investment banker and married man who likes to bitch about his beautiful wife’s (Gina Torres) large underpants. His marriage is going through a cold, no-sex spell, and he’s getting a little anxious. In walks past friend Nikki (Kerry Washington), who is looking for a letter of reference and winds up semi-stalking him at the workplace. The two commence a platonic relationship with sex always boiling under the surface.

The more time Richard spends with Nikki, the more lies he has to tell to sneak around behind his wife’s back. Yet, he’s not getting any sex out of it. The film actually tries to portray Richard as some sort of victim, a sexually deprived fellow heroically standing tall against temptation. Give me a break.

Rock puts himself in a pair of glasses and a tie in order to convey a proper business-type individual. He’s all wrong for the part. While he can show flashes of brilliance as a comedian, his acting has always been sub par. The wardrobe department can’t bail him out on this one. Truth is, I don’t think any actor could’ve saved the film from its screenplay. Since Rock co-wrote it, he takes blame across the board.

Rock wrote the film with the very funny Louis C.K., and it seems the two were harboring some bitterness towards women at the time. They throw in a lecherous male (played by an amusing Steve Buscemi) to try to even things out, but it’s to no avail. This is a movie for misogynists, and there’s no avoiding that conclusion.

The tone of the film is all over the place. At times, it plays like a normal, humdrum marital drama, while other moments call for slapstick. A sequence where Richard must have blood removed from his penis during a Viagra crisis seems too over-the-top compared to the rest of the film, as does the movie’s awful musical conclusion.

The film’s angry and insulting portrayal of women doesn’t help fuel a party atmosphere. Washington, a gifted actress, does the best she can with her one-dimensional, meddling, “bitch temptress” role. Torres also tries hard with her “bitch wife” role. Other female characters in the film include the nosy, judgmental office workers, the promiscuous partygoers and the flirtatious department store clerks. The only positive female in the movie would be the kid playing Rock’s daughter.

Perhaps some comedians aren’t meant for the big screen. The TV show Rock produces (Everybody Hates Chris) is fun, and his HBO specials always provide laughs. He appears to be straining too hard in movies, even when he’s playing a laidback type. His next two projects are vocal work for cartoons. That’s no surprise.