Comedian Chris Rock has written, directed, produced and starred in the new film I Think I Love My Wife, so itís safe to say he deserves all the credit or blame. And considering this remake of the 1972 French film Chloe in The Afternoon deals with a loving father toying with adultery, itís a risky bit of comedy even for a dangerous comedian.
But as dangerous comedians go, everybody seems to like Chris Rock, even if they donít love him. And Rock uses that to his advantage in this film playing Richard Cooper, a successful investment banker with the daydreams of the typical suburban father and the inner monologues of a stand-up comedian. Cooperís initial voiceover presents a man who has everything he thought he wanted, but now finds himself bored out of his expletive mind. And while that dilemma might resonate with a vast majority of the audience, it is also an apology and rationalization for what is about to happen.
For unlike most bored married men, Nikki Tru re-enters Richard Cooperís life. Nikki, the ex-girlfriend of one of his old buddies, apparently woke up one morning and decided to play with Richard. Thereís not much nuance to Nikki, as played by Kerry Washington in very little clothing. She literally licks her lips at the prospect of a married man in denial about his sexual frustration. Everything about her screams trouble.
And yet Richard Cooper, a man paid to do risk assessments, just canít say no to Nikki. Soon he is experiencing all the dangers of having an affair, without the pleasures of furtive sex. And as much as we want to join the other characters in warning him of impending doom, writer/director/actor Rock manages to make Cooperís actions sympathetic and believable. The choice between danger and boredom isnít an easy one.
I Think I Love My Wife walks a lot of fine lines with agility and humor. Chris Rock has managed to make an adult comedy that can withstand its own corny Viagra jokes. An adult comedy as mature and juvenile as grown-ups themselves. And being Chris Rock, some of the filmís most potent observations are about race and class in America. All of which make I Think I Love My Wife the rare remake that manages to be loyal and new and relevant. And funny. Give Chris Rock the credit.
© 2007 - Casey McCabe - Air Date: 3/20/07
I Think I Love My Wife
U.S./India - 2007