Friday, May 22, 2009

Movie Log: I Do: How to Get Married and Stay Single

I'm still seeing mostly short and funny movies, though I don't care where they come from -- I Do: How to Get Married and Stay Single is a French film, with an original title of PrĂȘte-moi ta main (Lend Me Your Hand).

Alain Chabat is Luis Costa, a professional "nose" who develops perfume and is utterly under the thumb of his widowed mother and five sisters. So much so that when they decide that it's time for him to get married -- he's in his early forties, and presumably has had some relationships, but we see no actual sign of them -- that he doesn't know how to say no politely.

So, instead, he hires the younger sister of a friend from work to pretend to be his fiancee and then dump him at the altar -- then, he's sure, his family will let him wallow in his sadness in peace. Unfortunately, the women in his family immediately prefer Emmanuelle (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to him, and so they blame him when she doesn't show up at the wedding.

Another plan follows, intended to make the Costa women hate Emmanuelle, but, of course, this movie really is the story of two things -- first, how Luis finally grew up and stood up to his family, and, second, how he and Emmanuelle finally fell in love. He does, and they do, but none of that really happens until very late in the movie -- it's not a conventional Hollywood rom-com, which is a very good thing.

I Do gets silly at times -- very early on, it telegraphs that it will not be overly serious when, in a flashback, Luis cannot remember if he was in one of two musically-named phases, with the appropriate over-the-top costumes for each. It means well, and it has fun along the way, but it's not out to do anything but entertain, which is just fine.

The one way I could fault I Do is to say that, for a French movie about love, there's vanishingly little sex in it. Most people could watch this movie with their aged mothers or maiden aunts without raising a blush. For many, this may be a positive -- but, when I see a French movie, I expect a bit more joie de vivre.

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