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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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I Do (Prête-moi ta main)

It’s films like I Do which make me wonder why Hollywood even bothers. There’s something about French comedies, romantic or otherwise, which make them a delight to behold. Alain Chabat stars as Luis, a 43-year-old bachelor who is at the mercy of his large, entirely female family. When they decide they are sick of doing his laundry they take a majority vote and decide he should get married.

Both marriage and standing up to his family are unpalatable to Luis, so he comes up with a brilliant plan: he will pay his best friend’s sister Emmanuelle (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to pose as his fiancée.

What follows is entertaining but never outright farcical, which I thought set the film apart from other like-minded French films. That said, there are several hilarious moments, including the use of celery as a sex whip. In fact, some parts cracked me up so much that I actually cried (it was much worse for the woman behind me, who snorted). I Do also succeeds admirably as a serious social commentary in the way it shows family dynamics in an overt way (such as when Luis’ completely whipped brothers-in-law ask his mother if they can eat something other than her late husband’s favourite dish) and in a more subtle way (when Emma’s attempts to appear totally crass and vulgar only makes the family blame Luis).

I thought I Do started a little slowly for a French comedy, but within ten minutes it picked up and held my attention throughout as an engaging and witty movie.

It’s good to see the French film industry functioning at its humanist best (unlike the French rugby team). So, want to see something other than Meg Ryan trailer trash? I certainly do.

ERIC LARTIGAU

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