I Do – 2006 (aka Prét-moi ta main)
A dedicated bachelor of 43 years (Luis Costa, played by Alain Chabat) who took an adolescent obsession with an ex-girlfriend's scarf and turned it into a successful career as "a Nose," meaning an expert inventor of perfumes, is facing what is for him a near apocalyptic crisis with his family: his five sisters and mother have determined he must get married.
His solution is to hire a young woman (Emma, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) to pretend to be his fiancé, to engage his sisters and mother in such a way to gain their approval, then to leave him standing at the altar alone in a scene of humiliation, which Luis assumes will inoculate him completely from any further pressure to find a wife.
It is a funny set-up for this romantic comedy (directed by Eric Lartigou), and though everything goes according to plan for the fake engagement to end with getting jilted at the altar, the shock results in his mother going to the hospital. In a twist to the original plot, Luis must rehire the young woman to not only be his pretend-fiancé again, and thus help his mother recover, but in a long range strategy to solve his problem again, to coach her to make his family hate her so that they'll be glad when she leaves. This proves hard to do and eases into further complications when Emma's ex-boyfriend reappears in Paris and her efforts at adopting a child are running awry.
I Do has a long list of funny scenes that are the natural result of the funny devices which power the story, such as Luis' extra-sensitive nose and his absurd plan to outfox the matriarchy that runs his life by giving the women of his family exactly what they want but to make sure they hate it. But the real tale has to do with having the courage to live life from a position of making choices and bearing the consequences, instead of hiding from the choices and manipulating results, something which both Luis and Emma are doing in their own ways, each one highly intelligent and clever at leading (or misleading) other people, but strangely unable to parse their own desires.
A fine comedy with a number of funny sections showing the viewer an "inside" look at the industry of making scents, a goofy family run with an iron fist by a group of women calling themselves the "G7," and of course this fake "couple" who have no intention of getting emotionally involved with each other as the wheels-within-wheels of the plot make it all inevitable. Their pretending to be a couple leads to the creation of a reality as the pretending is done too well, turning the story inside out until the natural disdain they show to each is the pretense and the faked affection, well, that becomes the "real thing."
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Original Page April 19, 2022