Rated: R .Grade: CDBC=C
Starring: Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, Steve Buscemi, and Edward Herrmann.
Summary: Finding himself in a marriage where he loves his wife and kids but she never wants to have sex with him, Chris Rock must decide whether to resist or give in to the temptations suddenly offered him when an old friend’s sexy ex-girlfriend shows up ready to please.
Entertainment Value: C This is directed by Chris Rock, and in many ways it’s very good. In others, not so much. One major problem is that it wasn’t all that funny. I expect Chris Rock and Steve Buscemi to be funny. The other problem is that its excessive foul language got in the way sometimes. Also, the situations and dialogue often seemed forced or awkward. Furthermore (and remember that I only gave it a C), much of this could have been solved by good advice or just a guy who didn’t keep going back for more of what he already knew he shouldn’t have. Still, I think the movie has a very useful place in our culture and much of it was very accurate as a reflection of what goes on in a troubled marriage and inside a guy’s head.
Superficial Content: D Drugs/Alcohol B, Sexuality C, Violence B, Language F, Illegality A. If you don’t like profanity, don’t watch this movie. It’s that simple. And the tragedy is that it wasn’t necessary. In fact, it often felt forced, unlike other movies where it seems to be simply well-written dialogue. The other main concern here is sex. Obviously the movie is about adultery, and, although there is almost no nudity, there are lots of sexual situations and a handful of scenes with women in lingerie. However, I was surprised to have these at the end since earlier in the film Rock had passed up including such scenes when I actually expected them in a movie like this. There is one fight scene with gunshots later heard.
Significant Content: B Marriage is worth fighting for, especially when you consider what you would be losing by cheating: kids, wife, job, and happiness. That’s all this movie is about, and it’s a very useful exploration of that one simple theme because it walks a man through the paces of an affair right up to the point of cheating and then forces him to really think about what he’s doing. However, Steve Buscemi’s character is also married and cheats on his wife all the time. He says that some people can cheat because it’s not emotional, and others cannot. This is a very scary comment to undermine the main point about how bad adultery is. Ironically, it’s he who advices Rock to not cheat.
Artistic/Thought Value: C As a piece of pro-marriage propaganda, it’s quite good. In fact, I can truly see this movie deterring men from cheating. However, it’s not a masterpiece by any stretch. And if I gave it anything higher than a C after the goofy singing-duo ending, I wouldn’t be able to sleep well at night. But there is one particular scene involving a tie that is masterfully set up earlier in the movie and then played to brilliance at the right moment. For all its flaws, that one scene justifies this whole movie, and it’s the one scene that anyone who watches the movie will remember.
~Do you think this movie might cause husbands to not have affairs?
~Do you think this movie might cause wives to be more willing to meet their husbands’ physical needs?
~At one point, the psychiatrist writes down “delusional” after Richard says he can be happy without having sex. Who is delusional, him or his wife?
~When a husband’s sexual needs are different from a wife’s, how should they handle this? What does the Bible say about meeting each other’s sexual needs? Can a marriage be healthy without sex?
~What are some of the elements the illicit relationship which make it appealing to Richard? How can a married couple protect their marriage from such temptations?
~Why does Richard keep going back to Nikki?
~George claims he can cheat on his wife without it affecting their marriage whereas Rock will not be able to. Is this true?
Overall Grade: C Useful, but not great.