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October 13th, 2006:
Richard Cooper (Chris Rock
) is a happily married, successful professional, perfectly content with his home life, his lovely wife Brenda (Gina Torres
), and his young daughter. During those dull days at the office, he occasionally fantasizes about other women, but never acts upon the rather harmless impulses. However, an encounter with an old flame (Kerry Washington
) suddenly casts doubt over his typically resilient self-control. When the woman begins to deliberately seduce Richard, he is forced to muster up all his strength just to resist her and remain loyal to his wife.What to Expect:
Chris Rock is an incredible stand-up comedian and is currently basking in high praises from the critical community for his amusing television series “Everybody Hates Chris.” Based on Rock’s very own childhood experiences, the show garnered the UPN network its first ever Golden Globe nomination earlier this year. Unfortunately, all that staggering energy that comes through during Rock’s acts is nowhere to be seen in the majority of his motion picture appearances. That is, Rock seems a bit awkward and restrained as a movie star and typically performs best when a cameo is required or when his role serves primarily as an extension of his stand-up persona. Article continues below
At first glance, he really appears to be stretching himself with “I Think I Love My Wife.” I would never have guessed that Rock, who co-wrote the screenplay with Louis C.K., would one day be remaking a film by a renowned French New Wave director. However, one of Eric Rohmer’s most celebrated pictures, “Chloe in the Afternoon,” is the unlikely inspiration for “I Think I Love My Wife.” The 1972 French drama follows essentially the same storyline as it focuses on the moral dilemma of a young, married bourgeois Parisian, who suddenly finds himself being seduced by an attractive woman.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Rock and Louis C.K. have attempted to transform high-brow art into something a lot more accessible for the masses. Together, the two adapted Warren Beatty’s Oscar nominated screenplay for “Heaven Can Wait” into the far less successful “Down to Earth.” Neither one of the two has fared well behind the camera either. Louis C.K. wrote and directed the disastrous “Pootie Tang,” while Rock wrote, directed, and starred in “Head of State,” a critically panned, but worthy effort at political comedy
. It would be difficult to find a feature film that has actually worked with either one of them in charge.
Initially, Rock was excited about the opportunity to work with Charles Stone III (Drumline, Mr. 3000), whom he handpicked to direct “I Think I Love My Wife.” The director eventually bailed, leaving the comedian to take over behind the lens. Given Rock’s track record, it would not be entirely out of line to assume the worst.
“Chloe in the Afternoon” represents filmmaking as an art form – a way of conveying thought. A drama about infidelity has infinite potential, but a comedy about infidelity immediately strikes up thoughts of all those mildly amusing relationship movie clichés. It’s difficult to actually imagine any scenarios that would come off as anything more than a little dumb, harmless fun. Furthermore, it would probably be futile to expect that “I Think I Love My Wife” could possibly delve into character subtleties as deeply as “Chloe in the Afternoon.” However, the studio has promised “a sophisticated comedy” and seems understandably excited about the prospects of working with Rock. One needs to only look at his recent television show to realize that he does offer a very distinctive point of view on modern relationships.In Conclusion:
If Rock takes the right approach with the story, then I could easily imagine a movie that is both witty and charming. If he decides to follow the path he himself has set with films like “Head of State” or “Down to Earth” then “I Think I Love My Wife” will become another generic, failed attempt at humor. As a stand up comedian, Rock is a legend by now and is so convincing in his appearances that his act seemingly takes on a life of its own. However, he is yet to come even remotely close to portraying a character as effectively on screen. Perhaps a sense of genuine sincerity rather than sarcasm from Rock could help sell this picture. I think that he will strive for an effective “sophisticated” romantic comedy, but that he will be forced to pollute it with clichéd humor sooner or later. Those looking for the comedian’s best work are likely to get a mixed bag, especially from a story that does seem a bit bland and unspectacular for a comedy. This really does not sound like anything beyond what can be seen in the average sitcom.Similar Titles: