The ballsiest thing Chris Rock does as director-producer, co-writer and star of this middling romantic comedy is to base it on Eric Rohmer’s Chloe in the Afternoon, a moral tale that filled art houses with appreciative snobs in 1972. Rock could never match the auteur’s filmmaking delicacy or the rep he built as an editor at Cahiers du cinema. But you can bet that Rock has Rohmer beat for belly laughs. Just not here.
In I Think I Love My Wife, Rock tamps down his natural exuberance to play Richard Cooper, a workaholic suit and family man feeling the itch of his seven-year marriage to Brenda (Gina Torres). Translation: He’s not getting any. Brenda’s excuses range from “My face hurts” to “It’s not your birthday.”
That’s when Nikki (Kerry Washington), a bombshell from his past, re-enters his life with enough come-on carnality to singe his eyebrows. In Rohmer style, he contemplates infidelity. Not in Rohmer style, he pops Viagra and gets a hard-on so huge that medics have to nick his pole with a needle to get it down. Mixing Rock with ooh-la-la turns out to be as appetizing as chalk and cheese.