Follow TV Tropes


Film / I Think I Love My Wife

Go To

I Think I Love My Wife is a 2007 romantic comedy film directed by and starring Chris Rock, based on Éric Rohmer's 1972 French film Chloe in the Afternoon. Rock also teamed with Louis C.K. to write the screenplay adaptation.

Richard Cooper (Rock) is a New York executive with an ostensibly perfect life. However, despite his loving wife Brenda (Gina Torres) and their two children, Richard is bored with his sexless marriage. Enter Nikki Tru (Kerry Washington), an old friend who wants to reconnect. Faced with Nikki's youth and sensuality, Richard starts to have a crisis of fidelity with regards to his comparatively mundane home life. Their friendship seems innocent enough to Richard, but the last man to date Nikki wound up psychologically obliterated by the experience. Will Richard be next?


I Think I Love My Wife provides examples of:

  • All Women Are Prudes: In-universe, Richard believes this of his marriage, complaining that Brenda never wants to have sex with him unless it's for having a baby. Averted when Brenda is talking to her friend Jennifer about her fears of infidelity.
    Jennifer: Did you find anything on his computer?
    Brenda: Just a little Asian porn, nothing serious.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Discussed in detail. The film is basically about the slippery slope of continuing a friendship with known unresolved sexual tension, which becomes increasingly dangerous when Richard and Brenda haven't had sex in a very long time. Richard genuinely loves his wife and ultimately doesn't go through with the affair, but the sexual tension and emotional dependence he had with Nikki definitely speaks intelligently about this trope.
  • Advertisement:
  • Awful Wedded Life: Very much defied. Richard and Brenda are happy except for the no sex part. They both love each other, their life, and their kids, but Richard is sexually frustrated and bored out of his mind by the mundane patterns they've fallen into as of late.
  • Betty and Veronica: Brenda is Richard's Betty and Nikki is his Veronica.
  • Black Bra and Panties: What Nikki's wearing when she and Richard decide to carry out the affair. It is Fanservice galore.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Richard playing with his daughter while wearing his tie around his head.
  • Cutaway Gag: Used sparingly, but the most memorable one is when Brenda calls him about the wall sconces and Richard tells Nikki the difference between dating and marriage in the following cut:
    Brenda: (seductively over the phone) I can't wait to suck your dick.
    Richard: And then after you get married, you get calls like:
    Brenda: (seductively over the phone) I can't wait for you to get home and see these drapes!
  • Dirty Old Man: Richard's co-worker and best friend, George, played by Steve Buscemi, who regularly sleeps with the younger women around the office.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Nikki is in her underwear and a pair of high heels. Richard gets distracted.
    Nikki: You like my shoes?
    Richard: You're wearing shoes?
  • Everyone Can See It: Nearly everyone in Richard's office picks up on the Unresolved Sexual Tension between him and Nikki.
    Richard: I'm not fucking her.
    George: No, she's fucking you; you just don't know it.
  • Fanservice: Plenty, as Nikki is played by the gorgeous Kerry Washington. She wears skimpy clothing and is in only a bra in three different scenes.
  • Foreign Remake: Of Chloe in the Afternoon.
  • Gilligan Cut: Richard insists he's not flying to Washington. Gets cut to him arriving to Washington.
    Richard: You must be out of your fucking mind if you think I'm getting on a plane to Washington, D.C., to go to some guy's house to get your shit! (cut) *the plane arrives in Washington DC*
  • Heroic BSoD: A subversion. Richard stupidly listens to Nikki, starts a fake argument with Brenda, and goes to the club where Nikki is supposed to meet him. He has some drinks, dances, smokes some weed and acts a fool, only for Nikki to send one of her friends to tell him she ran off with a guy named Compassion and isn't coming after all. Richard realizes he just risked his marriage over someone so flaky and inconsiderate, races home and manages to salvage things with Brenda. He then cuts off contact with Nikki for what appears to be several weeks or months.
  • Hurricane of Puns: When Nikki insists Richard come with her to go clubbing, she tells him to just start a fight with Brenda and act like he's storming out. Richard apparently couldn't think of anything legitimate, so he goes off about Brenda serving him chicken too much. Brenda is understandably baffled, but the "argument" is hilarious given Richard's responses.
    Richard: I'm goin' out of my finger-lickin' mind eating all this chicken! Chicken hawks don't eat this much chicken! I can't take it anymore!
    Brenda: Where are you going?!
    Richard: To get some DUCK!
  • Hypocrite: George cheats on his wife constantly, which Richard overlooks, but jumps down Richard's throat the second he thinks Richard is sleeping with Nikki. Richard rightfully calls him out on it.
  • Imagine Spot: Richard has a moment thinking about what he'd do if he returned to being a single man again. Naturally, none of what he does would happen in the real world, but he still thinks about having wild sex with random pretty women.
  • Gold Digger: Nikki, possibly. After she and Richard stop talking for a long spell, Richard finds out she's engaged to a very well-off guy and when Richard asks if she loves him, she pretty much admits she doesn't. She just wants stability and insists maybe the relationship will grow into love later, but her claim doesn't sound genuine.
  • Hypocrite: George has a constant wandering eye when out with his wife and family and regularly cheats on her with no regrets, yet calls Richard out when he thinks he might be doing the same.
  • Jerkass: It's extremely difficult to decide whether Nikki is simply a troubled, immature woman who uses Richard as an emotional crutch since she can't find anyone single she likes or if she's just a shallow, opportunistic narcissist who enjoys his doting nature and wants to take advantage of him for her own selfish needs. However, given that she is about to marry a man she doesn't love so she'll be financially stable and yet still is about to cheat with Richard, it's likely Nikki is more of a manipulative Jerkass than a troubled girl.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: George is a cheating bastard...but he's not wrong about Nikki.
    George: I can fuck a girl, go home, kiss my wife on the mouth, and sleep like a baby. You, however, got emotions. You're like Captain Save-a-Ho. You like to be needed and that bitch knows it.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Richard almost gives in to having sex with Nikki, but he comes to his senses just in time before he's done anything more than kissing and goes back to Brenda.
  • Mood Motif: The use of "Tired of You" by Foo Fighters. It's used the first time to show Richard enjoying seeing another part of life with Nikki (even though it quickly starts to get him in trouble) and then is used during the scene where he almost carries out the affair with Nikki, but doesn't.
  • No Indoor Voice: The cashier keeps being loud when Richard is trying to (discreetly) purchase some condoms.
  • Noodle Incident: The breakup between Nikki and Nelson (played by an uncredited Orlando Jones). Whatever it was, it was messy enough to require Nelson to get extensive therapy, and seeing her again clearly shakes him up.
  • Not What It Looks Like
    • After taking a Viagra pill given to him by George, Richard frantically calls George late at night when his erection won't subside. Brenda walks in and mistakes it for a phone sex conversation.
      Brenda: Are you talking to some...little bitch? Are you talking to some whore? In my house?!
      Richard: No, it's just George.
      Brenda: George? (Beat) What kind of down low shit is that?
    • Richard tries to invoke this when Nikki's ex Teddy walks in on them in his apartment singing to the stereo while Nikki has her blouse open. Teddy doesn't buy it.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Surprisingly averted. The incidents with Nikki mostly occur during Richard's lunch hour. Nikki is shown as unemployed and later as a hostess, which is why she has more free time than he does for their excursions.
  • Say My Name: When Richard finally comes to his senses and flees Nikki's company without committing the affair, Nikki screams his name in frustration.
  • Sexless Marriage: What drives the conflict in Richard's life. He and Brenda have stopped sleeping together, with the latter only citing being "tired" as the reason, and Richard is also relatively bored with his happy but mundane life. Then Nikki comes along and brings a heap of Unresolved Sexual Tension with her.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Richard repeatedly insists they're not together when he's seen with Nikki, asserting that they're just friends. Even though there's no actual sexual activity involved, very few people believe him. There is apparent Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Shout-Out: Richard works at the law firm Pupkin & Langford. Shout-out to The King of Comedy.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: After Teddy attacks Richard in the apartment and they narrowly escape, Richard goes off on Nikki about putting them both in danger and she panics and kisses him in apology. He kisses her back for a moment, but then stops her before it can go any further.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Nikki asks Richard to put lotion on her back, he accidentally squirts some out of the bottle.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Richard's relationship to Nikki embodies this.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Fortunately, Richard doesn't go through with the affair in the end. The whole point of the film is a realistic portrayal of how easy it is to let a friendship with sexual tension get out of control and almost ruin your life. Richard is a genuinely good, funny guy and loving father and loving husband who learns a damn good lesson about being responsible even if he isn't completely happy in his marriage.
  • The Vamp: Nikki, in spades. She slides back into Richard's life with an innocent request and then sets up shop basically slowly trying to ensnare him into cheating on Brenda. To be fair, she does seem to genuinely like him and care about him, but it's completely self-serving. She sees nothing wrong with the affair since Richard isn't happy and thinks that making each other happy is more important than loyalty and honesty in his marriage.
  • Where da White Women At?: Nikki teases Richard by asking if his wife is white because he once brought a white woman to a party with him in their younger years.