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aka - Prete-Moi Ta Main
France 2006
Directed by
Eric Lartigau
89 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
3 stars

I Do

Synopsis: Luis (Alain Chabat), is 43, has never been married and is determined to stay that way. His mother and five sisters, who call themselves the G7 and vote on everything accordingly, who are sick of doing Luis' washing and mollycoddling him, decide that the time has come to set him up with a wife. They organise countless blind dates for Luis, who is determined not to oblige, until, out of desperation, he hits upon a scheme. His workmate's sister Emmanuelle (Charlotte Gainsbourg) needs to earn some money, so Luis employs her to pose as the ideal girlfriend, who will charm Luis' family then bail out on the wedding day. But, as they say, the best laid plans . . .

When it comes to fluff, the French do it well. I Do is both charming and funny, although there is nothing dramatically out of the ordinary and most thinking can audiences can pretty well predict the outcome. However, obviously there's something that has won the hearts of French audiences, as it is a runaway hit in its homeland and both leads have been nominated for best actor/actress awards in this year's Césars.

Certainly Chabat has a charismatic screen presence, imbuing Luis with just the right blend of charm and raffishness. Gainsbourg, walks a tightrope between hard-headed business woman and ingénue who alternately charms, then outrages, Luis' family. With her gamine screen aura she's always intriguing to watch.

There are some fun subplots - such as the fact that Luis works as a perfume designer and his latest offering, Sandrine, is not pleasing to the boss's wife. His critical faculty is, of course, his nose, and when Emma invades his apartment with her turpentine-infused paint brushes he's horrified. The real Sandrine is in fact Luis' ex-love, who was scared off years ago by the G7 and remains a part of his cherished memories, eventually re-emerging in reality as a totally boring figure. Emma meanwhile is keen to adopt a child from Brazil, but her uncertain status with Luis is greatly affecting her application. This side of the plot allows us to see a softer and more earnest side of her character. The pairing of this odd-couple works very well, with good chemistry on all levels.

Laughs come freely from the smart script. The women playing Luis's mother and sisters are very amusing, as well as being scarily real. And with a base-line plot about a scheme that totally backfires on its perpetrators, I Do keeps you wryly wondering how they can extricate themselves from the scenario they've set in motion.

With lively performances and lots of good humour, I Do is a tasty serving of French gaiety with a delicious side-order of mischief!




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