Marriage is a wonderful thing. Very few things will make you feel like you're on the top of the world then having a wife and kids to take care of. The problem with marriage is that at one point it's going to get old, and you'll wake up one morning and wonder if you made the right choice or not. This is the situation Richard Cooper (Chris Rock) finds himself in at the beginning of "I Think I Love My Wife." He opens the movie describing the great life he has. He has a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids, and a job that pays well. There's just one problem: He's bored out of his %^!^@ mind! He and his wife, Brenda (Gina Torres), used to have sex all the time. Nowadays though there is always an excuse to not have sex. Either it's not his birthday, she doesn't feel like it, or her face hurts.
Whatever the reason is, the two aren't as romantically involved as Richard would like them to be, and with so much temptation in the world, Richard is finding it hard to stay faithful. I know the feeling, seeing as how I used to have a dog that used to love to play, but once he got older my goldfish was becoming far more interesting then he was. Richard's life gets a little bit of a jolt when an old flame of his, Nikki Tru (Kerry Washington), comes into his office asking for a favor. The two then begin a non-sexual affair where she is obviously flirting with him, and he feels guilty about spending time with her, but he has to admit that he's having some fun again. His co-workers are worried about Richard though. Not only does he cost the company a multi-million dollar deal, but they fear he will destroy his marriage if he keeps going on like this.
Richard's friend George (Steve Buscemi) warns him that "[Nikki] is nothing but trouble." When Richard points out that George has had multiple affairs with other women, George responds "I can have an affair and sleep like a baby. You on the other hand have morals." Yes, despite the fact that Richard goes through an entire movie checking out other women, he is likable. In one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Richard takes his wife out to dinner with a couple of their friends to get away from the temptation of Nikki. When his waitress proves to be showing some heavy cleavage, Richard tells the manager of the restaurant "Is this a Hooters? Because if it is, then I think you owe me some buffalo wings."
Chris Rock, who seems to be reaching a turning point in his own life, seems to be letting go of some of his own real life frustrations in this movie. He not only wrote a good portion of the movie, but he also directs the movie. In the movie itself, he is the narrator as well as protagonist. It's not a perfect film. There are several scenes that feel weirdly out of place. An argument Richard has with his wife about eating chicken every night comes off as unrealistic, and regardless of the circumstance that lead up to that fight, I doubt the wife would have taken the argument as seriously as she did. A scene involving a viragra pill that goes screwy is certainly funny, but again, feels rather forced in the actual movie.
What the movie does have in it's favor is a likable lead character who loves his wife but is frustrated with his marriage. He doesn't always make the best choices in the movie, but I think what's important is that he makes the right choices when the time comes. There is some social commentary about how women go out of their way to make themselves look sexy, and how it can be frustrating for a man going through a marriage crisis to walk the streets and have to look at all these women, most of which who walk around half naked. "I Think I Love My Wife" is going to make you laugh a lot, but it will also make you look at your own life and what you feel is really important to you. After a string of bad movies it's nice to see Chris Rock revive his movie career in a very interesting way. Not with flash but with substance.
Rating: *** stars