Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Think I Love Kerry Washington

I guess you can tell I'm no longer at the 9-5 because I'm writing entries on random things I've seen on television.

I was curious about "I Think I Love My Wife" when I heard about it, but the mixed-to-poor reviews kept me away until now. (Because I'll watch just about anything if it's on Hi-Def cable.)

An adaptation of a 1972 French film called "Chloe in the Afternoon". Written by Chris Rock and Louis C.K., directed by Rock.

[Let the record show that I really like Louis C.K.—loved his little-seen/little-loved HBO sitcom "Lucky Louie"—a portrait of marriage and parenthood that I thought was fresh, anti-sentimental, heartfelt and funny, all at once.]

I was surprised that I enjoyed ITILMW as much as I did. It's genuinely funny. Adult in a way you really don't see in movies anymore. And Chris Rock's certainly never gotten a role this mature before.

Alas, Rock may be the biggest weakness here. As a filmmaker, he's definitely not as bad as Kevin Smith... but in terms of tone and pace and visuals, the film is uneven. If it were tightened up, it could be a lot funnier. Tonally, for long stretches, it actually resembles a straight drama more than a comedy.

However, it's as an actor that Rock really hobbles the movie. Especially since he needs to carry the film through all its tonal shifts. You haven't seen him in a role this complex before, and it's clear that he's not ready for it. He isn't awful. He's just not as good as he needs to be. And if he'd just cast someone with stronger acting chops, I think it could've elevated the entire film and given it a better showing among the critics. A better actor could've compensated for some of the weaknesses of the script—and I really like the script.

Rock plays an i-banker at a firm called "Pupkin & Langford". (How many movies have references to Scorsese's under-appreciated 1983 dark-comedy "King of Comedy"?? Come on now, give it up for that.) He's married to Firefly's Gina Torres and lusts after... after...

Kerry Washington is a stone fox.

I've seen her before but I've never seen her like this. If this had been a hit, this would've made her a big, bright, shining star. I know that I pin my adoration on a good number of starlets up in here, but this girl is hatefully hot. She really makes the movie in a pitch-perfect performance.

Oh -- and I would kill for her. Women and children. That's how far I'd go. Which is to say, excessively far.

What's better, we meet two of her character's boyfriends over the course of the movie: Motherfuckin' Omar and Bunk from THE WIRE!!! Coincidence? I think not, ya feel meh?

Any case, I thought the movie would play really broad. Most modern American comedies play it broad, and the commercials/trailers sold it as a broad Chris Rock comedy. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more than that. No cheap April Fool's gag here.

(And really, keep your wits about you with that shit today. The internet gets batshit with hoaxes on April Fool's Day, it's not even funny.)


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