Rock is an alien

I haven’t seen Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife (Fox Searchlight, 3.16), but there’s a fundamental problem with the basic premise. Rock, who directed, co-wrote and stars, plays a bespectacled, suit-wearing husband (Gina Torres is the wife) who develops an extra- marital itch for a hot lady (Kerry Washington). The problem is that I don’t believe Rock could get worked up about anything other than some matter that immediately affects the business fortunes of Chris Rock.

Some actors project empathy, vulnerability…a regular-guyness. At best, Rock projects the vibe of a whip-smart, slap-happy alien.

I don’t believe that Rock (or any permutation of him) could ever really be in any kind of recognizable marriage — to me, he always seemed totally married to his act. I’m not even sure I can believe Rock as a guy who has sex. With anyone. It’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off. Rock is about being on-stage and kicking ass — energy, nerve, focus…how to deliver a joke in exactly the right way. This combined with his obvious intelligence is why he’s so good.

I believe Rock as a guy bristling at the conventions of marriage, which is partly what his character seems to be about. But I don’t believe him as an regular shmoe capable of being committed to a wife , and definitely not a guy who would care enough about sex (extra-marital or otherwise) to go after it with any effort. I don’t know Rock at all — I’ve had exactly one 12-second discussion with him at a party. But I honestly feel that HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey projects more humanity.

  • EDouglas

    Rock is surprisingly good in this movie, which IMO shows some great growth in him, both as an actor and a filmmaker. I thought he was really believable and the movie is much better than the trailer and commercials may belie.

    So are you just going to go through every single black comic actor until you’ve crushed them all, Jeff? Who’s next? Martin Lawrence? Chris Tucker? (At least you have some ammo there.)

  • CambridgeCat

    Unfortunately, Chris Rock comes from the Jerry Seinfeld school of acting.

  • EDouglas

    Don’t get me wrong..he’s not getting an Oscar anytime soon or even being nominated but he works as the character, which is an obvious extention of himself, much like his stand-up act. Of course, I wouldn’t expect anyone who despises Rock to appreciate the film, but if you can tolerate him, you may be surprised by how much better this is than the commercials (which really do look like one of his videos)

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com/ Josh Massey

    Operation Take-Down-Another-Blackie in full effect!

  • Ju-osh

    Wells: “It’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off.”

    Okay, I understand that a line like this is supposed to play into your Norman Mailer-meets-Fonzie tough-guy who ‘tells it like it is’ schtick, but when I read something like this, I think the writer is trying waaaaay too hard to be hip.

    For a great example of effective ‘blue’ humor, check out Rock’s stand-up dvds, ‘Bing the Pain’ and ‘Bigger and Blacker.’

  • http://sevendeadlyarts.blogspot.com R. Hunt

    He’s a funny guy – hey, I liked “CB4″ – but do we really need Chris Rock remaking Eric Rohmer films? What’s next? The Rock and Lindsay Lohan in “Alphaville”? “Mary-Kate and Ashley Go Boating”?

  • Arran

    Wells: “It’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off.”

    Clearly you’ve never heard his bit from Bigger and Blacker. “Scream if you want to, bitch!”

    (Before anyone starts, “bitch” refers to his penis. :D )

  • rocco

    Holy fuck this post is bizarre. Seriously…fucking…bizarre. Start wearing that helmet Jeff…and not just when you’re cruising on your hog…all the time.

    And what…no more takedown plunger deathblow articles about Murphy to link to?

    …ugh, even jokes about your infatuation with Murphy are getting old, too…

  • http://journals.aol.com/terrymcca/poetry-arts-confidential/ Terry McCarty

    Wasn’t the idea behind the film not so much to remake Rohmer but emulate Gene Wilder’s THE WOMAN IN RED (itself a remake of a French film)?

  • delbomber

    Holy fuck this post is bizarre. Seriously…fucking…bizarre. Start wearing that helmet Jeff…and not just when you’re cruising on your hog…all the time.

    And what…no more takedown plunger deathblow articles about Murphy to link to?

    …ugh, even jokes about your infatuation with Murphy are getting old, too…

  • christian

    “It’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off.”

    i would hope so for your sake. but you tried.

  • AH

    Chris Rock may be a funny comedian but, till now, hasn’t shown any acting or directing chops, other than his smallish role in New Jack City. I like the concept of this movie and Kerry Washington is smoking hot.

    As for the “it’s even a struggle to imagine him jerking off” comment, why would you want to?

  • Craig Kennedy

    I’m hoping it won’t be a struggle to stop imagining Jeff imagining Chris Rock jerking off. Perhaps if I jam this letter opener into my eye hole…

  • The Movie Man

    I’ve given Jeff enough of a hard time that I feel it only fair to back him up here. I think its a little too sensitive and “PC” to accuse him of racism simply because he’s questioned two black performers in a short amount of time. Two black performers, I might add, that have, as actors, very spotty filmographies. Chris Rock has done some solid stand up, but he’s never been a convincing actor, and while Jeff put his foot in his mouth with the masturbation comment, the majority of his thoughts on Rock are pretty much on point. Can yo guys believe him in this type film? He’s never inhabited a character in the past, its all about the one liner, and odds are he won’t here. I would love to be proven wrong though.

  • Ju-osh

    While the ‘jerking off’ line is fucked up, the truly disturbing part of this post is that at least one-third of it is based around questioning Rock’s sexual prowess. This is not some he-man, Russell Crowe role Rock’s attempting here. It’s a character completely in the tradition of Woody Allen and the aforementioned Jerry Seinfeld. I’ve yet to read one of these rants about those two skinny, awkward (and oh yeah, white) dudes.

  • Dixon Steele

    What next, Jeff, crapping on Martin Lawrence’s performance in WILD HOGS as lacking in humanity.

  • The Movie Man

    Ju-osh,

    Jeff rants about white guys or girls all the time. Paul Giamatti’s career was questionable because he was losing his hair, Sofia Coppola was bashed as a shallow fashionista for about three months, Francis is being sort of questioned right now, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Jackson, that’s all right off the top of my head.

    And you guys bitched at him for being too PC conscious when he heavily prefaced that thing about certain demos being higher in attendance on certain days, these kinds of responses are why.

  • sutter kane

    I never understand why studios won’t let chris rock be chris rock. That he could make Head of State without making it an overtly political film is a travesty. For the most part, I agree with Jeff’s assesment of him- the energy and nerve being the driving force behind his comedy. So why do they keep trying to turn him into will smith? (see Bad Company if you don’t believe me…)

  • Craig Kennedy

    Yeah, anyone who’s paid any attention to any of my posts knows I have as many issues with Wells as the next guy, but I’m definitely not seeing racism. If there is bigotry, it’s more classist than racist or sexist. At worst it comes off as snobbery and I’m guilty of that at times myself.

  • T. S. Idiot

    I’m sitting here, concentrating as hard as I can, and I still can’t get up the image of Jack Black having sex either–not that I’d actually want to see that.

  • The Movie Man

    I meant to mention earlier, if Jeff has a prejudice against anything, its fat people, there are mentions of people’s weight all the time, all derogatory.

  • cjKennedy

    I’m hoping it won’t be a struggle to stop imagining Jeff imagining Chris Rock jerking off. Perhaps if I jam this letter opener into my eye hole…

  • cjKennedy

    Yeah, anyone who’s paid any attention to any of my posts knows I have as many issues with Wells as the next guy, but I’m definitely not seeing racism. If there is bigotry, it’s more classist than racist or sexist. At worst it comes off as snobbery and I’m guilty of that at times myself.

  • Mark B

    {quoting AH}:”I’m hoping it won’t be a struggle to stop imagining Jeff imagining Chris Rock jerking off. Perhaps if I jam this letter opener into my eye hole…”

    Oh my gosh. That comment truly cracked me up! Oh, man. Good one, AH….

  • Gatrios2011

    I wonder if the Jeffster would feel the same about Polanski if it was his 13 year old son’s anus dripping with Roman’s cum. “Jett, think of the great movies he’s made, you just can’t press charges. Anyway, if Polanski pays enough I can finally buy those movie stills of naked Vinessa Shaw”