Of Men and Babies
It seems to me that the American version is a somewhat watered down interpretation. In the French version, the emotions run stronger, the characters are more idiosyncratic, the actions and reactions are more graphic (I'm not just talking about the sex scenes here :) For instance, Pierre and Michel acted like petulant children upon Jacques' return and suitably Jacques' reaction is one of utter shock and disbelief; the attitude of the concierge towards the baby is more passionate; the guys' paranoia of both the police and the drug-dealers are more thoroughly explored and exploited. In the American version, everything seems somewhat toned down.
Ok, I know it's a jugement de valeur, but someone has to say it ... I think the French version is funnier, although it gets a little eccentric towards the end. The American seems less weird, maybe because it tries to explains everything (e.g., possible motive for Jack acting pregnant by wearing a pillow), but in doing so it seems more like a TV sitcom. I'd give the French version a 3.5/4 stars and the American version a 2.5/4.
Three Men and a Baby
I agree that the American version was like a sitcom. The American version deals far more with the antics of the three inept men, rather than their emotions. For example, that ridiculous chase scene. I believe that added nothing to the plot. The French version emphasized the emotions of the characters much more. The three characters were all womanizers, yet they all had distinctive personalities. In the American version, Jack was a womanizer, Peter was half womanizer-half attached, and Michael was the sensitive man (or am I confusing Peter and Michael?) Though distinctively different in actions, they all had the same personality. I think the American version did this so it could put in more action and and rely more on its ultra-happy ending. American audiences probably would not react as well to the emotional turmoil the French characters endure. Even I found myself getting bored in the French version towards the end, though I felt it was a better movie. I guess Hollywood has made me grow accustomed to explosions and car chases. Are characters in French films usually as well defined as they were in this film?
...and the winner is...the envelope please....
Hello to both sides of the Atlantic One remark I would like to make is that the French characters seem to express negative feelings, like anger, much easier than positive ones in front of others. The opposite is noted for the American characters. Could I make a suggestion? Let's try not to overanalyse the films, otherwise we will brutally kill them both.
Trois hommes et un couffin
It is easy to see that the American version was lacking compared to its French counterpart. Alot of the scenes that i enjoyed from the French film were either cut out or redone in a half-hearted way. It seemed like the American version was just trying to cash in on the funny idea of three men raising a baby and the popularity of Tom Seleck and Ted Danson in the 1980's. For example, i liked the scene where the three men were having a party with some friends. I felt the scene really highlighted how far the men had come in their relationship with the baby and how their values had changed. I definitely enjoyed the French version much more because the acting seemed more genuine and the plot more realistic. Like when Jacques tries very hard to pass on his responsibility for Marie (i.e. his mother, and the second mother) it is much more rewarding and satisfying to see him finally come around. The American version seemed to rush through the emotion of the French version. Although the pace was a bit slow and the ending was wierd, i really enjoyed the French film. I remember seeing the American version a long time ago and enjoying the film. However, after being able to compare it with its French counterpart i just found myself picking things out of the movie that were "cheesy" and unrealistic. I also really liked the huge apartment in the French version. Is that apartment atypical of the apartments in France? Also, are the police allowed to search a house whenever they want? Are there search warrants in France?
Non, les apartements sont beaucoup plus petits ; surtout à Paris. On ne trouve ce type d'appartment à Paris que sur l'Avenue Foch ou des rues très chères mais alors les prix sont si elevés qu'il est impossible à tout un chacun de se le proccurer. Mais effectivement elles ont des jardins sur plusieurs étages et des piscines (on trouve cela sur les toits de Paris dans les quartiers huppés !!!)
I noticed that the interaction with the police was quite different in the two movies. In the English one, Peter and Michael were very helpful to the police. The police were suspicious, but not offensive. In the French version, Pierre and Michel taunted the police, showing quite a lack of respect for law enforcement in Paris. The Parisian police were quite offensive, they seemed quite intent on catching Pierre and Michel.
Little apartment on the prairie
Speaking of small apartments, the one that the "3 men" live in also seems atypical. One would be hard-pressed to find a nice, sunny place with an indoor garden like that, in New York of all places. If I can find one in Boston for less than $500/month, I'd be the first to move there :)
I just wanted to say that I actually liked the interaction between the men in the American version better. They didn't yell at each other nearly as much as the men did in the French film and I also liked the way the women were treated. While both sets of men were womanizers, the men in the American film talked about them less and also the fact that Peter had a steady girlfriend made me feel better about the situation. This may be my 90's feminist upbringing talking, but it had to be said. Does anyone else have an oppinion about the interactions between the men and women?
I agree with Megan about the interaction between the men and women. Perhaps the interactions between the men themselves were more realistic in the french version, but the interaction between the men and women seemed more realistic in the american version. Perhaps this is a cultural difference, i don't know.
Also, I want to go out on a limb and say that I liked the american version better. I don't really care about realistic interaction all that much, if I wanted reality, I wouldn't go to the movies.
I liked the French version of the movie much better. For all that we students here at MIT have pointed out that the students at INT generally didn't respond to the questionnaires with answers that involved emotions, the three French men in Trois Hommes et Un Couffin definitely showed more of an emotional spectrum than the Americans in Three Men and a Baby. Also, the French men seemed to be more devastated when Sylvia took Mary back. Jack's mother seemed very professional because of the way she dressed and spoke. Jacque's mother seemed like a happy-go-lucky woman who had free time to travel anywhere at any time. Is it common for senior citizens in France to travel all over the world? At what age do you consider someone elderly? I thought that Jack's mother wasn't much older than 50, and I think of people that age as young and still part of the work force. When do people in France retire?
Pour répondre à Megan, je ne suis pas de son avis à propos des relations homme femme. Certes les trois célibataires de trois hommes et un coufin n'ont qu'une idée dans la tête "les femmes" mais la fin du film est bien plus moderne du point de vue de la place de la femme dans la société que la version américaine. 1. Sylvia américaine s'excuse d'avoir ennuyé Jack avec ses problèmes alors que le bébé est quand même une responsabilité partagée avec Jack !! Elle n'a pas à s'excuser c'est pas vrai ça!!!! 2. Sylvia américaine a l'air d'être 'sauvé' par les 3 'gentils' garçons qui veulent bien d'elle dans leur appartement.
Dans la version française je trouve que Sylvia se débrouille comme elle peut pour mener de front sa vie professionnelle et familiale elle n'y arrive pas de façon parfaite mais elle n'abandonne pas pour autant son travail contrairement au film américain.
Je pense également que les 3 célibataires ne sont pas un idéal masculin mais au contraire une critique des machos. C'est en les montrant au début du film comme ça que l'on peut les voir évoluer de façon positive. On voit d'ailleurs qu'à la fin du film leur côté feminin sensible ressort et c'est tant mieux! Beaucoup d'émissions et de livres en France d'ailleurs parlent de ce nouveau côté féminin des hommes. Cela prouve que le monde évolue et que l'on commence à se débarasser des stéréotypes du mec macho qui ne montre jamais ses sentiments et qui n'est heureux que dans sa vie professionnelle. Et oui les mecs aussi aiment s'occuper de leurs petits bébés... Juste une petite remarque pour finir le réalisateur du film français est une réalisatrice Coline Serreau et elle a fait un autre film qui traite (entre autres) du problème des familles actuelles et de la place de la femme dans la société. Ce film s'appelle "la crise" et je vous incite à le regarder si vous en avez la possibilité. Moi aussi c'est "my 90's feminist upbringing talking" ;-)