Although it arrived to mixed reviews, I enjoyed Chris Rock's directorial effort, "Head of State". The film's look at politics wasn't brilliant or even realistic, but its jabs at the political process were funny without being particularly lowbrow. Rock's second directorial effort is something completely different - a remake of French director Eric Rohmer's film, "Chloe in the Afternoon".
The picture stars Rock as Richard Cooper, an exec at a Manhattan investment bank firm who's married to Brenda (Gina Torres). Brenda is a great mother, great companion, great cook, great...everything. However, things have gone cold in the bedroom. While Richard isn't about to cheat, his eye is caught up in other matters besides law on the way to work every day.
One day, Nikki Tru (Kerry Washington) - an ex-girlfriend of one of his friends, who he hasn't seen for years - enters his office, trying to look for a job recommendation. However, as the two get to talking, she tries to talk about his marriage, and when she detects some cracks in his armor, tries to slowly but surely move in on Richard. The two start off with lunches to "catch up on old times" and while Richard thinks that they're just being "friends", his co-worker (Steve Buscemi) alerts him to the fact that things are not what they seem. Eventually, Richard wakes up to the fact, as well, but finds it difficult to resist Nikki.
"I Think I Love My Wife" has elements that work, but I had trouble with some aspects of it. There's a scene where Richard takes a ridiculous trip to DC to help Nikki with getting her things from an ex-boyfriend's apartment, then gets in severe trouble when the insane ex-boyfriend shows up. Yet, the character doesn't learn: he continues to seek out Nikki, despite the fact that she's brought him nothing but trouble. Cheating is a terrible thing and it takes Rock's character too long (he very nearly loses his job over it) to realize that Nikki isn't the right choice.
The film sees Rock trying to blend drama and comedy, but this results in Rock trying to add some unnecessary comedy late in the game - a viagra bit that's not very funny and a sudden semi-musical number that's just odd - because it feels like maybe Rock thought the movie didn't have enough laughs up until this point. The movie manages some insights on family and marriage (and life in general), but again - it feels like Rock's character takes too long - and nearly costs him everything - to get the picture.
As for the performances, this is a fine performance from Rock, but it's not his best, as the comedian seems too subdued in this role. Washington is better as a manipulator with a confident front and a sad interior, as well. Torres is stuck with a role that's just too chilly as written. Steve Buscemi is very good in a minor role as Rock's co-worker.
Rock gets points for trying something different, but the end result is rather uneven and feels a touch long even at 90 minutes. There's some mildly interesting insights on marriage and life, but they're often in the voice-over narration, and it takes too long for Rock's character to get the picture.
VIDEO: "I Think I Love My Wife" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered very good image quality, with fine sharpness/detail and only a little bit of shimmering. However, this is still not the final copy and unfortunately, I cannot make any final comments on it, as the final copy may offer differing image quality.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation offered crisp, clear dialogue and music. However, as one would expect from a movie that's dialogue-driven such as this one, the surrounds didn't get much of a workload at all, remaining silent throughout much of the running time.
EXTRAS: Commentary by Chris Rock, casting featurette, "making of" featurette, premiere featurette, 3 bloopers, 13 deleted/alternate scenes, music video.
Final Thoughts: "I Think I Love My Wife" doesn't entirely come together (mainly due to Rock's own character), but it's a respectable attempt from Rock to try something a bit different. The DVD presentation offers a nice selection of bonus features, including a pretty insightful commentary from Rock himself. A light rental recommendation for fans of the comedian.
The Film C+