Relationships Between the Characters - Relations entre les personnages



      I thought it was interesting to view the two films. Although the basic storyline was the same, both the emphasis and the scenes themselves were different in many ways. In keeping with the topic of this Forum section, I think that the French really did a better job of portraying interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. I had a much better sense of how Pierre and Michael felt when the responsibility of the baby was put on them – their career problems and unpreparedness of being parents. I felt that the French film spent a lot more time developing the characters' personalities. The English film, on the other hand, focused more on the drug deals and action scenes, but this will be discussed in the "storyline" section.


I just wanted to make a small comment about the relationship of the three men with the baby. In the French version, they take special care of NOT arguing or screaming in front of the baby. They make a big scene of holding their wrath; walking into another room and closing the doors before they go ahead and let each other have it.

On the other hand, the American actors easily fight or scream in front of the baby without thinking about it once. It was interesting to see this striking difference between the ways a baby should be treated in both cultures.

Subject: The police in both movies

I just wanted to briefly discuss how the police were portrayed in both movies. In particular, I wanted to describe two sequences in the French movie that really surprised me.

Sequence 1: When Jacques called home, the French policeman completely felt at liberty to pick up the receiver and listen to the conversation. In fact, the French policeman was even standing right beside the bachelor during the entire conversation. By contrast, in the American movie, the policeman was surreptitiously listening to the conversation

The conduct of the French policeman surprised me because in North America, the police usually need special authorization before they can intrude in this manner. This is why in American movies, you will often hear the police say "I have a warrant to search your house".

I was wondering if in France, police are allowed to intrude on suspects in this manner. Would any of you French students be surprised if the police knocked on your door, entered your house and started answering your phones and listening to your conversations? In France, is it accepted that the police are allowed to behave in this intrusive manner even if they have limited evidence against the person?

Sequence 2: When the police were unable to find the drugs in the house, the two roommates started making fun of the police as the police were leaving. I found this to be ver bizarre because I would have expected the roommates to be very relieved and thus been polite with the police. In the American movie, the two roommates treated the police with the greatest respect.

I know that if I had drugs in my apartment, I would have never made fun of the police in the manner that the French bachelors did. I was wondering if the behavior of the French bachelors in this scene struck any of you INT students in the same manner that it struck me. Would any of you even consider behaving in this manner under such circumstances?


I felt that the relationship between Jack and the baby in the American version was much less realistic at first. Within one day, Jack is already comfortable with the baby and doesn't want her to leave. In the French version, Jack is much more skeptical of the baby immediately, and he even tries to hier a second mommy for the baby. The American version has Jack come back much earlier, so that the really father can form a relationship with the baby. In the French version, Jacques returns home much later, to an extremely angry Michel and Pierre. This seems much more realistic to me. The men in the French version are much less warm to women than in the Amercian version. In the American version Sylvia is invited to move in with the men and raise the baby together. In the French version this matter is undetermined at the end.

Also, the men fight much more in the French version than in the American version, leading to many humorous sequences.

In the american version the relationship between the 3 men is quite straight forward. i liked how in the french version, the relationship between the 3 men was more complicated. the 3 men seemed very different from each other and at times I was not even sure if they were friends or just room mates.

also saw the marked difference in the treatment of the police. I think that in general Hollywood is very inclined to be supportive of US institutions such as the police. In most of its films even if you have some 'bad guy' institution, there will always be a 'good guy ' institution that is there to overcome the evil and ofcourse end the movie with happy ending. I am not sure that many Americans feel the same way about the police as the moive seems to suggest they do.

Difference in the men's lives

The "Village Voice" review mentioned that the French version shows how the men adapt their lives to the baby, while the American men adapt the baby to their lives. I agree with this statement, and a good point of contrast is the dating lives of the men.

In the French version, they miss dates and lose contact with females. When Pierre has a girl over, and the men sing to Marie, she storms out. In the American equivalent, the girl finds it cute and stays.

Another scene worth noting is the montage sequence with the American men playing frisbee in Central Park. Not only are they out playing with Mary, but the scenes also have them surrounded by women. The French version has no comparable scene, although the men do mention that they take Marie to the park.

These scenes display how the French men give up their single lives for the baby, while the Americans are able to have both.

Relationship between the men and the baby

I noticed an obvious difference in the way the American guys reacted to the baby and the way the French did. In the American movie, the guys did not even want to touch the baby. They were trying to put the responsibility automatically on the other. There was no instant feeling of care for the baby as in the French movie. In the French movie, they picked her up and held her right away and tried to comfort the baby before they even knew anything about how to take care of her.

On the other hand there was the similarity of both not knowing what to do with the baby, and both having their lives completely changed by it.

Sujet : réactions vis-à-vis de la police

Bonjour à tous !

Alan a souligné la différence de comportements par rapport à la Police. En France non plus, on ne peut pas entrer chez les gens comme ça, il faut un mandat de perquisition et on ne peut pas écouter les conversations privées. Le policier ne s'embarrasse pas de tous ces détails dans la version française (encore pour faire moins dramatique, peut-être, l'appareil judiciaire ne se met pas en marche, on reste dans le domaine de la comédie). C'est aussi pour cela que les garçons se moquent d'eux, car ils savent qu'ils ne craignent rien tant qu'il n'y a pas de preuves (une conversation surprise sans autorisation, une fouille bredouille ). Ils se vengent ainsi des manières cavalières de la police. C'est pour avoir une preuve recevable que les garçons sont filés, et eux-mêmes s'en doutent dès le début. C'est le jeu du chat et le la souris, et chacun sait ce que veut l'autre.

Si une fouille avait lieu chez une personne soupçonnée de détenir de la drogue, il y aurait une procédure beaucoup plus formelle. Et les gens ne se moqueraient pas ainsi ouvertement de la police. Il se tiendrait plutôt " à carreaux ", sans faire les malins. Mais je ne pense pas non plus que dans la vie réelle, les garçons américains essayeraient d'arrêter les dealers. L'attitude vis-à-vis de la police est donc exagérée dans les deux films.

A bientôt, Sophie

Salut aux étudiants du MIT!

Après le départ de Marie, Jacques va chez Sylvie avec un bouquet de fleurs, peut-être pour avoir une discution sérieuse. Est-ce que le fait que le garçon apporte des fleurs à la fille vous a parut typiquement français? On ne voit pas ce passage dans la version américaine, est-ce que c'est considéré en Amérique comme une habitude romantique du "French Lover", mais non transposable chez vous?

Merci et à bientôt, Sophie

Hey Sophie,

To answer your question about the myth of the French lover, I wouldn't say that Jacques behavior struck me as being typically French. In the United States, it is not unusual for a man to buy a woman flowers after a quarrel. Also, men will often buy women flowers on special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries or simply if they want something from her…

As for the myth of the French lover, I would say that there is a certain element of truth in it. I don't know if I would say that the French men are more romantic, but they are definitely more aggressive in their pursuit of women. I have seen French men in action, and there is a clear difference between the tactics they employ and the tactics employed by North American men.

While we are on the topic of how American perceive the French, I was wondering what you French students thought of the scene in the American movie when Jack was imitating the accent of the French chef while preparing Mary's bottle. I thought that this scene was one of the funnier scenes in the movie. Did you guys enjoy it?

Finally, I was wondering if it common for actors on French comedy shows to poke fun at Americans by talking with an American accent. How do the French make fun of Americans? I would be very interested to see how the French portray Americans in their comedies. If any of you can recommend a movie or a website where I can download video clips of the French perception of Americans, I would be very greatful.

Merci et bon soir,


Hi Tyler!

Je suis d'accord si tu dis que les hommes adaptent leurs vies à celle du bébé dans la version française et que c'est l'inverse dans la version américaine.

Dans le film français, ils font des sacrifices au niveau professionnel et risquent même pas mal, alors que dans la version américaine, ils amènent Marie au travail.

Je ne sais pas vraiment ce qui est plus imaginable ou croyable. Ramener un petit enfant au boulot est pratiquement impossible. Mais d'un autre côté, je ne vois pas non plus ces hommes faire des sacrifices au niveau professionnel pendant longtemps...


Dear Allan

I wanted to add a few comment about the French policeman behaviour. Of course policemen are not allowed to behave this way in France, and they need a warrant to search a house or listen to a phone call. But it's a comedy, and people do not always behave the way they would in real life. I think the goal of this whole scene was to make fun of the police and to make them look as "the bad guys", because they were accusing the three men of something they hadn't done. It is not unual in France to give a very negative image of the police in films, and the public usually finds it pretty funny.


Il semble que le film américain soit beaucoup plus tourné vers une certaine efficacité de l'action plutot que vers un attachement fin à l'étude des relations entre les personnages. En effet les personnnages en eux mêmes sont simplistes, caricaturaux et idealisés, il s'en suit que leurs relations ne peuvent être que caricaturales. Les gentils sont gentils, les méchants vraiment mauvais, les moralisateurs ont raisons, il n'y a aucune place pour la subtilité des relations humaines, contrairement au film français qui bien que parfois caricatural de par son côté vaudevillesque insère assez de psychologie aux personnages pour donner de la finesse à leurs relations.

Bonjour a mes camarades de l'INT,

I don't mean to sound pushy, but I would greatly appreciate if some of you INT students could respond to the questions that I raised in my message #10:

What did you guys think of that scene when Jack was talking like a French chef? I would absolutely love to see a French actor or comedian imitating an American accent.

How do French comedians make fun of Americans?

Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to your responses.


In the French version, when the men are all together, they seem like total jerks, always talking about how they can't wait to get some girl into bed. From the way they act around each other, I wouldn't have expected them to be so warm and loving around Mary. The funny thing is that when they are alone with her, they are very affectionate, but seem to want to hide this affection. For example, when Michelle was playing with Mary and Pierre suddenly appeared, Michelle tried to act like he hadn't really been playing with her and just stood totally still until Pierre went away. I don't remember a scene like this in the American version. Is this way of treating emotions characteristically French?

Hello, je voudrai ajouter quelques commentaires à vos réactions.

En ce qui concerne la police, elle est effectivement très souvent tournée en ridicule dans les comédies françaises: les policiers, très bêtes, y sont inefficaces et pourtant très fiers d'eux-même, ils cherchent à faire respecter l'ordre sans réfléchir, et les héros se révèlent plus malins qu'eux. Je pense que voir le contraire dans un film français serait perçu comme très étrange. Les français, et je pense les latins en règle générale, ont tendance à s'opposer à ce qu'ils considèrent comme une contrainte, c'est la vieille histoire du héros malin qui gagne contre la répression brutale du plus fort (cf Asterix par exemple, quoiqu'il soit un peu aidé par une potion, mais l'idée y est), peut-être connaissez-vous la série des Arsène Lupin: c'est une série de romans policiers français écrits au début du siècle dont le héros est un cambrioleur, gentleman dans le plus pur stéréotype français, extrèmement intelligent qui réussit des cambriolages parfaits et tourne la police en ridicule, il s'attire la sympathie des français qui suivent ses aventures dans la presse. Je ne sais pas si un tel personnage pourrait exister aux Etats-Unis où le méchant est toujours très antipathique. Il faut aussi bien voir que la France a eu une histoire plus riche en monarchies, invasions et inégalités que les Etats-Unis, et comme une des armes des français, à la portée de tous, est l'humour, c'est celui-ci qui a été utilisé par les plus petits pour combattre ou se venger des plus forts, et c'est une habitude qui est restée. Ceci dit, il existe aussi en France des séries du type Colombo (et pas simplement importées.

A bientôt. Perrine.

Salut Allan Pour répondre à tes posts #10 et #15, je dois te dire que en tout cas pour moi, j'ai aussi trouvé la scéne de Jack trés marrante. D'ailleurs je trouve aussi trés amusant les scénes de films américains où l'on peut voir le point de vue des américains sur la France : Quand par exemple Columbo se promène avec sa voiture qui a cents ans et toujours le même imperméable !! J'ai pleins d'autres exemples que je trouve hilarant tel que par exemple le mythe du français avec sa baguette de pain et son béret ! Même dans des séries récentes j'ai pu voir que les appartements à Paris n'avait pas l'eau chaude !!! Non je vous rassure on a bien l'eau chaude et même l'éléctricité !!! Enfin pour en revenir à ta question Allan, je dirai que certains acteurs ont fait des parodies avec l'accent américain (une voix rauque et caverneuse et une tendance à ne pas trés bien articulé). Pour écouter à quoi cela peut ressembler je peux te proposer d'aller voir quelques séquences des "guignols de l'info" : c'est une émission de Canal+ qui caricature les personnalités politiques et aussi médiatiques au sens large. Salut Yoann

Salut à tous les étudiants du MIT et à Allan en particulier,

Je voudrais signaler que la façon dont nous nous moquons des Américains est souvent liée à deux types de stéréotypes. Tout d'abord l'accent "cow-boy" bien plouc, où l'on n'articule pas du tout et on parle très vite presque en mâchant les mots. En général la conversation tourne autour des mots sandwiches et vaches... Ensuite, il y a également le mythe du cinéma américain et du sous-titrage débile : on prend la voix la plus basse et la plus rauque possible, et on commence par "In a world where nothing worse could happen...." pour finir par "It's back !". Si tu as vu la dernière pub pour "the dot in .com" de Sun Microsystems, c'est exactement ça, un cliché de chez cliché qui fait bien marrer les français.

Bye, Clad