March 16, 2007, - 2:19 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Neither of the two big new releases, this weekend, are great. But one is far worse than the other. The choices are sort of sex-specific, as I predict men will like the Chris Rock comedy more and women will likely prefer the emotional thriller:
* “I Think I Love My Wife“: I Think I Hate This Movie. You know a movie isn’t exactly a masterpiece, when the promotional material they give out is thong underwear with a giant tag, featuring clever but sleazy dialogue from the movie relating to Latifah-wear (granny panties) vs. “tag and a–” (the only thing Chris Rock wants to see when looking at his wife’s underwear). Was this a movie or a night at SCORES with party favors?
If Chris Rock, who stars in and wrote this movie, set out to single-handedly throw out the achievement of the Huxtables in showing America that Black middle class professional families are just like White ones, he succeeded in spades. Good-bye, Heathcliff Huxtable, MD. Hello, vulgar ghetto-sexual hiding inside a fancy suit and a classy suburban house.
I simply can’t understand why the Black audience with whom I screened this movie were eating up this vulgar portrayal of middle-class Black American men as sex-obsessed, vulgar lowlifes whose every other word is either the F-word or the N-word (which is odd since, not long ago, Rock pledged to stop using the N-word; I guess he forgot). But ate it up, they did. And that’s why this stupid, rarely funny, racist movie will likely top the box, this weekend.
I like Chris Rock as a comedian. He’s funny. But his choice of movies is in the toilet. And this one is the epitome of that. A bored upper-middle-class Black investment banker (Rock) can’t get sex from his strict, lecturing, perfect wife. One day, a beautiful woman he had a crush on in college enters his office. And for most of the movie, he does the flirting dance with her. He wants to have an affair with her, but in the process of the chase turns his life upside down.
While the end message in this movie is ultimately a good one, the journey to get their is base, coarse, and very low-class. The many hard-working, successful Black professionals in America don’t need racist White moviemakers to take them down a notch. Chris Rock did the job for them, all with Black America enabling the guy. And they’ll enable him more, this weekend by sending a message to Hollywood that this kind of movie sells.
The best actor in the movie is not Rock but very minor co-star Steve Buscemi, who plays a philandering co-worker of Rock’s. He was the only funny thing in what is supposed to be a comedy, but doesn’t deliver the laughs that a Rock monologue does. Oh, and it was just thrilling (NOT) watching Stephen A. Smith on-screen, pretending to be an actor in a scene in which Rock and wife discuss the Jews with a fellow upscale Black couple.
Best line in the movie, which is essentially the movie’s questionable–but very true–moral message is delivered by Edward Herrmann, playing Rock’s boss:
You’ll lose a lot of money chasing women, but you’ll never lose women chasing money.
That line got the most applause and from the audience. Mildly entertaining, but skip this one–even if you’re a guy who likes male fantasy movies. In the end, this ain’t it. It’s just gratuitously crass with no purpose.
* “Premonition“: This psychological thriller starts out very well, but it gets so melodramatic with women screaming, shrieking, moaning, and crying, I thought I might be watching a Lifetime movie of the week. While it’s overall entertaining and engrossing, it’s a mix of chick-flick and thriller. Sometimes the mixture goes together like oil and water, as it did at times in this one.
Sandra Bullock plays a wife and mother of two children who gets premonitions that her husband will die in a car accident. One day he dies. The next day he’s still alive. Her days are out of order, and she soon realizes she is seeing into the future.
While it’s different and interesting, it has points where characters enter the story that really don’t belong and take away from the movie–like an eerie psychiatrist at a mental hospital. It’s interesting that Sandra Bullock chose to do this melodramatic women’s version of “Groundhog Day,” since she also did the time warp movie, “The Lake House,” last year. I liked “The Lake House.” And while I liked this one, it wasn’t as good.
The message of this movie, often true, is that you can’t change fate. But you can improve upon the circumstances. I liked the spirituality of the movie and its inclusion of Christianity and faith in G-d.
Tags: actor, America, bored upper-middle-class Black investment banker, car accident, Chris Rock, comedian, Debbie Schlussel Neither, Edward Herrmann, eerie psychiatrist, Groundhog Day, Heathcliff Huxtable, I Think I Love My Wife, Maryland, oil, philandering co-worker, Premonition, Rock, Sandra Bullock, Stephen A. Smith, Steve Buscemi, The Lake House