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I Do : How to get married and stay single

I Do : How to get married and stay single – Review


Luis (Chabat) has turned forty and he’s not only still single, but his mother’s still doing his washing. He’s not worried about this, but the committee of women (mother and sisters) running the family disapprove and decide that it’s time he found a wife.
To appease the family, he concocts a plan, under which he pays a colleague’s sister Emma (Gainsbourg) to pretend to be his fiancée, only to jilt him at the altar.
This plan isn’t altogether a problem for Emma, as the money comes in useful and the adoption agency she’s signed up to are happy to push her up the list, since it looks like marriage is on the horizon.
All goes well until Luis’s relatives fall in love with Emma, to such an extent that when she jilts him, they start bullying him to win her back.
Phase B of his dastardly plan involves Emma going out of her way to make the family hate her.


No prizes for guessing what happens in the end, of course; Alain Chabat’s own idea follows all the twists and turns of a bog-standard romantic comedy, so the fun comes less from the plot progression than it does from the character interaction.
Gainsbourg’s Emma is equally comfortable being angelic as she is playing the devil and there’s no doubt that she’s blossoming into one of the dominant screen presences of both French and international cinema – this was one of two of her appearances at the London Film Festival, the other being in the Bob Dylan tribute film I’m Not There.
Chabat, too, has risen to fill the shoes of Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil as a key French actor of the moment, a leading comic actor who, himself, has branched into English language cinema – alongside Gainsbourg, in fact, in Michel Gondry’s surreal The Science of Sleep.
The film is littered with cutting comments, witty one-liners and situations that will catch you by surprise along the way to the inevitable denouement.
But the movie is slight in its ambitions and rather clumsy and rushed in tying up the loose ends – it’s almost as if the film-makers were taking it at their own pace, just happened to look up at a clock, saw they were approaching the ninety minute mark and shouted “arrêtez vous” or “fin” and downed tools.
It’s a bright and bubbly, highly entertaining rom-com, perfect for dates. But don’t expect to have your brain in any way taxed – and you’ll have forgotten all about it within minutes.
You’ll probably feel good for the rest of the evening though.

opens nationwide 2nd November 2007

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