The story line / L'histoire


Sur l'histoire je voudrais dire que c'est plutôt comique de voir des hommes sans expérience s'occuper d'un bébé, surtout des hommes à femmes qui ne pensaient pas du tout avoir à faire cela un jour!

The caring for Marie was so much more realistically (and gruesomely) presented in the french version of the film. For instance, what looked like real baby poop was smeared on the actors' hands. Whereas in the american version you just got a lot of people repeating the word "doodle" and way too many close ups of the poor baby's (pristinely clean) butt. It's kind of unfair to the baby actually. I mean she didn't give them permission... For me, a lot of the comedy in the french version was in the frumpy way the actors acted. It felt genuinely funny or at least down to earth. The crazy shots with them swinging the baby in its cradle, the piggish way they moved about the apartment, the way the dad in the film acted like a total jerk. It was great! I don't think anyone now would laugh at the cheesy acting in the dated american remake. As for the plot points in the American the three friends framing the thugs...well, that was just painfully protracted and not funny, if I may state the obvious.

A few points in the French version where the comedy didn't translate perfectly to me were when the one friend chases out the registered nurse who came to nurse Marie. A lot of it is him just getting her name wrong, it seemed, and that wasn't funny from the subtitles. I think you had to hear it. Also, when at the end the mom curls up in the cradle, and in particular that she's sucking on her thumb, that just wasn't quite funny...I don't know.

I have to agree with Irina - I was definitely more impressed by the French film.  I thought the way Michel disposes of the drugs and outsmarts the detective who's tailing him was very clever.  It was something that a common person could manage!  However in the American version, the action had to be ramped up (although I did appreciate the explanation of how Peter, Michael and Jack get their names cleared - in the French version, the detectives just disappear!)  I was also interested to see that the American men do not leave the baby home alone, while the French men do.  I think the only purpose of leaving Mary with a sitter is to show the viewer how dangerous the intruders are (since the sitter is bound and gagged).  This trend continues in the film when the three men learn that Paul was murdered.

One thing that bothered me about both films is the fact that the mother returns and gets her baby back!  While it's very plausible that the mom returns, it's less plausible that someone who was irresponsible enough to leave a baby on a near stranger's doorstep should get her child back without any kind of questioning or dispute.  In the American version, it is slightly easier to understand:  Sylvia is having a rough time in life and can't take care of the child.  However in the French version, Sylvia leaves the baby on Jacque's doorstep as revenge while she's off working in America.  Seems pretty crazy to me!

Finally, I really disliked the American ending.  It was too easy and too trite - but I guess they really wanted everyone to wind up happy!

Overall though, I agree with Estelle.  The movie is funny and charming, and it is very entertaining to watch three clueless men try to take care of a baby.

I agree with Diana and Irina that the French movie was more impressive than the American in terms of traditional movie expectations.  The three mens' relationships with each other and the baby were made clear through their acting--their expressions, etc--instead of actions.  From the acting standpoint, the American version was more "dry".  But from a storyline perspective, the American version had more plot twists and random events, which made it overall a more lighthearted movie, for me at least (both movies are funny, but the French one definitely stuck out to me more).

The plot is quite different, even though the main idea behind the film is the same--three men taking care of a baby.  The three mens' names are translations of their French names, but their jobs are different.  In the american version, Michael hides the drugs in Mary's diapers inside their apartment, while in the French version Michel actually buys new diapers and hides the drugs in the diapers while sitting in the park.  In the French version, Peter and Michael leave Mary with Ms. Hathaway, but in the French version, the men leave Marie alone.  

I think the biggest plot twist, as Diana pointed out, is the fate of the drug dealers and how the three men handle them.  More of the plot seemed to be focused around the drug fiasco, rather than the growth of the three mens' relationships with the baby--the Paul side story is another example.

For me I think the thing that stood out for me is how the two movies portrayed the sadness of the men after Marie was gone. It seems they drew it out longer in the French version and even had them moping around and making excuses for their "sickness." I feel like the French version focused more on emotions and the American version focused more on action. However, both were funny to me.

As far as cinematography goes, the French film (obviously) was done more expertly.  It was subtle and nuanced, with less of an emphasis on pomp-and-circumstance.  The settings were richer (the apartment felt very lived in) and they made an effort not to restrict themselves to one soundstage.  The American one was very readily dated to its time period due to the soundtrack and use of excessive montages to accelerate time.  And in classic American style, the subjects of the film were all at the top of their game in highly uncommon fields, thus helping to date the film even more.  The French film focused more on the subtleties of the actors in their environments and interactions, so it felt more timeless. I guess it helps that French fashion in general is better than American fashion, so it's much easier to spot garish 80s American attire than French.

I also felt each film was dated in its portrayal of men, and it is ridiculous they couldn't have found some way better to ensure the safety of the child if they truly felt unprepared.  I guess my perspective is different because raising a child is something I've had some hand in with my siblings and (to be honest closed-minded) I cannot understand those who don't know how to deal with children.  I guess we have different value sets, but if some baby showed up at my dorm for me to care for, I would have no problem dropping I'm doing everything to take care of it.

What I think is common to both these films is an innocence of the time period.  I feel there are modern versions of this story, except they would make it more logical by having the mother having died or something (I think there actually was a movie just about this this year), which makes much  more sense than having a mother just dump her child for months. Once she returned, I know the first thing I would do is call protective services. Still, the American mother was clearly more professional and educated.  Which I think these two roles are the most signficant contrast between the two-the French version seemed to allude to some notion that the only woman who could not raise her child would be a prostitute and a model, whereas the American version projects the notion that a working woman is not going to be there all the time for her child.

I felt the funniest comment in the movies was from the American one

when the grandmother arrives, and is watching the baby and says "Don't spoil this moment for me."

Bonjour à tous, je suis désolé de ne pas avoir participé à la visio, il paraît que c'était super, mais j'avais un devoir de mécanique très important!

Irina, que veux-tu dire par : he frumpy way the actors acted. je ne comprends pas bien se que tu veut dire.

Quand tu dis que ce n'est pas drôle à la fin quand Marie se met dans le couffin, pour nous autres, c'est très symbolique: c'est une sorte de metapghore pour dire qu'elle a besoin que l'on s'occupe d'elle!

Le film est très vieux maintenant et il n'aurait peut-être pas le même impact sur les jeunes aujourd'hui, je suis d'accord. Mais il est basé sur des sentiment humains universels, et c'est pour cela que cela fonctiuonne encore (un peu)

While both films are entertaining, I thought the American version was more comedic than the French version. As others have already pointed out, the French version was realistic and down-to-earth. Most of the storyline was plausible. As a result, it felt more like a drama genre than a comedic one. In constrast, the American version was quite unrealistic and a bit silly at times.


J'ai oublié de vous dire que j'ai trouvé la version américaine très américaine, surtoput l'épisode de la drogue, cela bouge beaucoup plus, on a l'impression de voir une serie américaine à la tv!

Bonjour, moi aussi j'aurais bien voulu participer à la visdio, mais j'étais aussi en examen!

Je ne comprends pas pourquoi Aaron dit ceci de Marie: 

. Still, the American mother was clearly more professional and educated. 


Peux-tu expliquer ce point?

Evita, je suis d'accord avec toi,, la version américaine est plus exagérée que la version française, les acteurs en font un peu trop!

Ciara, je partage complètement ton opinion!

le film américain ressemble parfois plus à un "action movie" qu'à une comédie!

Tom Selleck joue souvent dans des films de ce type, très virils, et c'était drôle de le voir dans ce rôle!

Yoan, by "frumpy way" the men acted in the french version, I mean that the movie shows the men being more like pigs...but in a good way, because it's funny and real. Like when Michel goes (shuffling his feet almost like a clown) to answer the door or wakes up in bed, he's a little messy, or clumsy, or "frumpy" (which generally means messy as opposed to well groomed). On the other hand the cheesy american heroes always looked showered and dressed and ready to go out. They never seemed sleep deprived or overwhelmed, although ostensibly yes they were supposed to be. This killed the comedy for me. For instance, when the american movie tried to copy the shot of Michael falling asleep with the baby, it didn't feel as real, or as good.

I think I followed the metaphor at the end of the french film at a rational level, but artistically I wasn't quite sure if I liked it, as the way to wrap up the story. It was a little bit of an artificial metaphor (maybe all metaphors are artificial, but this one was really glaring to my american sensibilities) and I'm not sure if I would have preferred something "subtler"? Actually I think I just didn't quite get the joke, as it were. Somehow that style of ending might have been less familiar to me, so I didn't have the same reaction to it...? I don't know. I also found that in "le diner de cons", the artificial structure--while obviously and unapologetically the film's philosophy about how to construct comedy-- didn't immediately work for me. I think this might be an example of different conventions that act like cues for comedy to an audience from one culture, that it would take an outsider a little while to get used to before he or she would start to laugh at them and accept them as funny. I mean, why do we laugh at anything? Maybe half of it is pure training!


Although the American version was more dramatic, I found the plot generally more realistic (except for the donkey/carmel? in NYC) because I found that what happened was what I would expect in real life.

For instance, the men helping the police arrest the drug dealers: while, I wouldn't expect suspects to help the police via means as dramatic as those portrayed in the film, I would expect them to somehow oblige by the law. Or try to get official protection as opposed to complying to the demands of the drug dealers.

Also, I found it somewhat unbelievable that the baby was a complete turn off to their social life in the French version. I would expect most people to get excited about a baby as was portrayed in the park in the American version.

And one other thing that caught my attention and that I couldn't quite understand was the fact that the men in the French version were ashamed whenever they were found being affectionate to the baby.

I think part of the reason I seem to favor the French version over the American is that I watched the French one first, so was holding the American one up to a standard while watching it. As I watched, I was imagining what was supposed to happen next and noting the differences. In general, I noticed more action and less sentimentality in Three Men and a Baby. This could be attributed to meeting the then current demands of American films. Also, the French one was produced 2 years before the American one. I'm not sure what the legal aspects are with regards to doing a remake in a different language, but I think that Three Men and a Baby retains the fundamental elements of the film.



What I meant is that in the French film, Sylvia comes off as a far less capable mother and also less caring of her child than the American mother.  At the same time, her job appeared to involve prostitution at one point and then modeling at other points, whereas the American mother seemed much more like an educated and independent business professional (I say American mother-she was supposed to be British and had an awful fake accent) who had plans for how she would take care of her baby (by returning home with her parents) versus Sylvia, who took her daughter out to work with her and sometimes left her unattended.  Ultimately, the American character seemed like she was much less needy of the men than the French one (the ending of the movie felt forced).

On another note, there was one line in the French movie that I thought was very important, especially in its delivery, "I did it to hurt him," where Sylvia was explaining why she left the child.  The act seemed more planned and less desperate for this one moment.

What is interesting to understand is not just the difference between the two movies, but the reasons behind the differences.

While I was watching the American version, I noticed that Marie was not left alone in the apartment and immediately thought of the legal implications of leaving a baby alone in the US. I might be wrong but I have heard that leaving children unattended in cars or homes can sometimes constitute an offence. I feel like in America, people look up to characters in movies as role models so perhaps they didn't want to show a baby being left alone in the house in fear that some people might actually do it. But it might be good to get an Americans perspective on this (I'm not American).

I agree with Ken in that the French film definitely focused more on the relationship between the men and the baby as opposed to the drug plot. The way I saw the American film was that it was in the style of an American detective/crime show, but lamer and more cliche.

Did Peter buy the diapers along with the baby formula? Or did they just happen to have diapers lying around (if so why?)? I remember distinctly that Michel (but not Michael) in the French version had to go out and buy diapers.

Also, I thought the French film was more for the laughs, or maybe I just find French portrayals and behavior a bit more strange but amusing. Like, Michel swung Marie's cradle like it was a swing in a playground, but all Michael did was rock or shake the crib gently. I'd say the French version is a little more eccentric or the actors had their little quirks.

In the American version, the police officer (on the horse) didn't play any role at all. He was an empty placeholder because the detectives came to their apartment all by themselves, like they had already done research and suspected that the heroine had come through their apartment, whereas in the French version, the police officer told detectives about his suspicions (after the phone call with Jacques). It somewhat shows how the Americans are more active in sniffing out druggies, I guess.

Apparently there is also an Indian remake of the film that was released just 3 years ago, I'd be interested in watching that just to see how they differ (though we're not comparing Indian to French or American culture at all).

I don't want to make sweeping generalizations, but I think French films tend to be more artistic and more attuned to the sensitive emotions, as opposed to blood-and-guts or action-y American movies.

Something I enjoyed more about the French film was how they revealed more about Sylvia's relationship with the baby. In the French version, we could actually get a sense of who Sylvia was and how hard it was to raise a child. Perhaps this is related to what Aaron said that "Sylvia comes off as a far less capable mother and also less caring of her child than the American mother". We simply don't get to learn much about American Sylvia's life and struggles, so she just seems like a more serious outsider. I actually never understood why Sylvia came back in the American version. She was going to get help from her family in the UK so it didn't make sense for her to return.

Overall, I liked how the French film communicates the characters' feelings without much dialogue. You get a better understanding of their situation.

Many of you felt that the French film's humor was more "impressive" than the American films. In many cases, I agree with this statement and I feel that Michael's transferring the drugs to the drug dealers in the park was indeed more creative and interesting than the three mens' attempts to catch the drug dealers in the elevators in the American film. However, it would not be fair to discount the comedy and humor that is present in the American film (especially because there are times it occurs in the american film but not in the French film).


For example, one humorous event that was memorable for me occurred at the very beginning, at Peter's birthday celebration. When a lady asks Peter if he's still dating or if he's available, he says he's in an open relationship and that he's able to see other women also. But when a fellow male friend of his asks him if his girlfriend is "available", he says absolutely not and tells the man that he and his girlfriend have been in a stable relationship for many months.


I feel that an incident like this was inserted in the American film just to make the american audience (who loves such humor about relationships and dating) laugh and to introduce the three characters as playful men who love spending their time flirting with girls. The nature of the characters in the French film is similar (they are also very flirtatious and promiscuous), but the French film doesn't introduce them as such (their behavior at the party at the start of the film is very serious).


One difference between the films that really fascinated me was the reaction of the girl in Jack's / Peter's bed when the three men sing a song to the baby.

In the American film, Peter's girlfriend loves the fact that Peter sings and she becomes extremely happy and romantic. In the French film, however, the girl in Jack's bed gets fed up (probably because Jack is focusing more on the baby than on her), and she leaves.

This act of "leaving" comes up again in the French film when the guests that Jack, Peter, and Michael invite for dinner leave once the baby starts crying (before the cake is served!!). Perhaps, the directors of the French film are trying to reveal French people's dislike of not being the center of attention...  Is this true? Why do you guys think that the latter two events exist in the French films but not in the American one?

Personellement, j'ai préféré la version américaine de ce film. Beaucoup d'entre vous ont dit que dans le film américain il y avait beaucoup d'actions et que le film français était plus basé sur les émotions des acteurs mais j'ai trouvé le film français un peu d'ennuyant car il n'y avait justement pas assez d'actions pour moi, j'ai trouvé que les acteurs ' sourjouaient ' un peu parfois et que quelques scènes étaient un peu éxagérées.

Cependant j'ai tout de même aimé certaines scènes, que ce soit dans le film américain ou dans le film français les hommes se retrouvent malgrès eux impliqués dans une affaire qui ne les concernent pas vraiment pour certains mais pourtant on voit qu'ils s'occupent trés bien de la petite marie, ils font trés attention à elle et finissent par ne plus pouvoir se passer d'elle alors qu'au début ils n'ètaient pas trés content.

On se rend compte que toute personne est touchée face à ce genre de situation , et nous avons beau critiquer les hommes dans leur manière d'éduquer les enfants ( parfois :) ) ce film nous montre que les hommes peuvent être au contraire beaucoup plus mature pour s'en occuper.

Moi j'ai préféré le film américain au film français. C'est peut-être parceque je l'ai vu en premier!

Cependant, je ne peux pas m'empêcher de critiquer le film français. Je n'ai jamais vraiment apprécié les films français. Je trouve que les acteurs ne jouent pas bien et cela me dérange. Dans la version française de ce film, j'ai plusieurs fois trouvé les scènes trop jouées.

Pour le film américain, je l'ai trouvé un peu superficiel. Comme Irina l'a précisé, les hommes semblent toujours lavés et bien habillés alors que dans le film français, on les voit fatigués par Marie.

Avez-vous vraiment préféré le film français? Pourquoi?

Lina, tu as dis plus haute que dans la version américaine, ils ne laissaient pas Marie toute seule dans l'appartement. Le film à été tourné dans les années 80, si une autre version était faite aujourd'hui cette scène serai faite différemment j'en suis sûr, je pense cependant que les français ne seraient pas totalement choqués puisse que ce film reste un peu 'loufoque" donc je pense que ça à moins d'impact que si le film avait eu une histoire un peu plus sérieuse.

"Avez-vous vraiment préféré le film français? Pourquoi?"

Well, no matter what you think of the French movie, it's hard to like the american remake. It's very stupid. I don't say that flippantly but with perfect objective precision. Like that desk is two meters long. That movie is two bizillion meters stupid. I think when you're already familiar with the most basic tropes and cliches of older american movies and tv shows this is like a tour of the lowest and dumbest of them. There is not a teaspoon of invention. Every single joke is cheesy and not in a winning way, but in a teeth grinding way, actually. It's just, it's hard not to walk out. Oh wait, I should qualify this by my personal opinion....

I bet it was more interesting though if instead of being a bag of cliches you're bored to death of, it's a bag of cliches you don't know well. Being not american may have vastly improved your viewing of the american movie...just don't watch it twice?

Oh and this is of course all my personal opinion, in case that wasn't super clear. :P

Anton, tu as raison sur beaucoup de points; pour moi, la difference principale vient des émotions dans le film français, par opposition au film américain, mais je trouve que le film français est vraiment dépassé aujourd'hui, je le trouve un peu ennuyeux.

%erci Irina, ta réponse est très intéressante,d'habitude, on nous parle plutôt des French lovers, et ici, c'est l'inverse!


Aaron, je ne vois pas pourquoi tu parles de prostitution dans le film français, où vois-tu cela?


je ne pense pas que les français fassent cela parce qu'ils veulent capter l'attention et être au centre du monde, même si c'est un reproche que l'on nous fait souvent (et c'est vrai), mais je crois qu'ils sont vraiment passés dans un autre mode de fonctionnement et que la vie qu'ils menaient avant avec leurs amis ne les intéresse plus autant car ils ont découvert combien un enfant pouvait leur apporter.


Partagez-vous mon oppiion?


Yoan, that's not fair, what's "French lovers"? I don't know what I've inverted :)

i prefer the french version myself. the cinematography was real nice (grainy and colorful), but the acting was better too. i don't think anyone in the american version was as good as roland giraud. do people agree? and maybe it's because these french actors are better that the movie was a given a more serious flavor? 

then again, i have a mild bias against the actors in the american version; steve guttenberg i thought was especially annoying. 



I think they assumed that the viewer would guess that Peter bought the diapers as well. I think that that's like one of the differences between the two versions. Unlike the French version, the film makers of the American version did not go into some details (that I guess are supposed to be obvious). For instance, instead of showing Peter going through another session of figuring out baby things in the diaper section as well; they just showed the part where he deals with the milk and well, since he was at a store, we are to assume that he also bought the diapers. I guess the same reasoning can be used for the policeman: he probably reported them at the station but they chose not to show that because we are to assume that if detectives show up at their house, then somehow someone told on them..etc

I wouldn't be too hard on the American version.  While most of us seem to be enthusiastic about the more genuine nature of the French film, the American film also has it's good points.  Many students have mentioned that certain points in the American version - the actors are always well-dressed, the actors never look tired, there's a lot more action, there are more sudden changes in the plot - are obnoxious.  But I think they're sweet and humorous too.  True, I don't always like the way these American steriotypes are always portrayed on film, but the exaggerated nature of these characteristics in American film I think are a way we make fun of our own movie-making tendencies.  It's very American to have a movie with good-looking, well-dressed actors with an irrational amount of money given their supposed professions, with lots of plot twists and with the "good guys" always coming out on top.

Martine and Evita,


I have quite a different sentiment from you two! I find the way of acting in the French version of the way more dramatic /further from reality as compared to the American version, for example the actions of the characters, their exaggerated reactions. However, I do like this dramatic factor. Some may say that movies should reflect reality but I think in this case, the French movie managed to get the point across way better than the American one by being dramatic. Yes, it’s true that almost no men would cry like a baby (Pierre) when Marie left. But, the audience can certainly feel the sense of attachment between the three men and the baby much better that way. Also, the length during which Marie stayed with the three guys is a lot longer in the French movie as compared to the American movie, which also emphasizes that attachment. 


Also I am particularly moved by the fact that the French movie shows how Sylvia is struggling to work and take care of the baby at the same time. The scene in which Marie sits on the ground without any pants, only in a diapers or sits alone in her stroller waiting for her mother to finish her shoot move me to tears! In the American version, the mother gave up before even getting on the plane!


About the American movie, I think the storyline is not that bad. Apart from the overly-politically-correct drug-arrest scene, everything is logical (And the baby is so cute and chubby!!)

The 1980's... what a bad decade! I am repeating what my colleagues have said already. The American film is trite. The drug scene and the final airport scene are good examples. In general, the American film was hopeful. Somehow, the heroes managed to arrest the criminals and love the baby. Of course, the ending is obvious.

The French version had many interesting differences. Although it is a comedy, I think there are many serious subjects explored by the French film. For example, the French film showed how the three men needed to defend the baby against their upset guests. The baby really changed how the three men lived.

I think there are some interesting cultural differences revealed by the films. The American film is very typical, as some students have already said. It is designed to be in a specific genre. The French film, although also a comedy, is maybe more realistic because it explores some difficult and serious scenes. Finally, both films have a good ending, which is a basic similarity.

I agree with most of what's been said so far.  Both films are comedies, and do their job of making us laugh in different ways.  The French film has more acting--we get a sense of how the guys feel.  The American film is more "ridiculous" in terms of action and plot.  The movie almost turns into an action movie; it develops the whole drug plot line a lot further and focuses a lot of its attention on the 3 men catching the drug dealers.  In the French movie, the drug plot is more on the side.  

The American movie also skips over a lot of the smaller details the French movie includes (like the confusions of Pierre/Peter at the pharmacie/supermarket in the beginning of the movie).  I liked these small details, because they really developed a better sense of the characters.

I know that both movies have their strengths in terms of acting, but which plot do you guys like more? (or which plot twists work or dont work for you?)

Prostitution in the french version--

I did not think that Sylvia in the french film was involved in prostitution. I think her late hours and that scene when Michel sees her walking down the stairs with some men, while the baby's waiting in the stroller, both related to modeling. In that scene, I thought she was dressed up in fancy clothes and painful shoes because it was her job. 

Did other people think so?

I did think of prostitution in the park scene, when Michel leaves the drugs in the trash. The young drug dealer showed up pulling a woman after him, who I totally thought was playing a prostitute. I guess, when I think of women and crime, I think of prostitution.

Again, how did others interpret that scene?

Although I preferred the French version of the film, I did find it to be a tad boring near the end. I thought there were too many scenes of the men taking care of the baby and too many scenes of the men being sad. After awhile, I was thinking "Ok, I get it. They're really sad that she's gone." I felt like those sad scenes just dragged on and on. I thought there was too much emotion in the French version. On the other hand, I thought the American version lacked emotion. There were definitely not as many scenes of the men taking care of the baby. By the end of the movie, I felt like they hadn't really established a deep bond with Marie.

I find it really interesing that we prefer each others' films! Are we just each disenchanted with our own culture, and thus attuned finely enough to its negatives to be able to make the criticisms? It seemed to me like even the manner of criticism is similar- a few of the French mentioned that they didn't like the acting, for example, and that was our main complaint.

Anyways, I agree with Irina. I really, really dislike the American version of the film. Like, really. I wouldn't watch it again. I thought it shallow and overdramatized and poorly acted and rrrargh. The thing that bothered me most about it, however, was the pseudoeducational quality that typically american things always seem to have. Like, it's not good enough to show events, you also have to have made a moral judgment on them. There is a definite right and wrong in each situation, and there is always someone to show it or enforce it to the other characters and to the audience. If a character doesn't do the right thing, he feels guilty until he does, or he sees the error of his ways by being corrected by another character.

Prime example: the father of the baby asks his girfriend to take care of the kid.

Man: but of course you know how to, you're a woman! (WRONG!)
Girflriend: just because i'm a woman doesn't know i know what to do with babies... (RIGHT!)
Man: oh. i didn't realize that. i suppose that makes sense. Wow, you're acting just like a man, going out with that sexy cellist who isn't worth your time because you should  be helping me instead! (BETTER!)

And this kind of thing is everywhere! The movie is just full of these moments where there's obviously the right thing to do and obviously some sort of judgment about it.

Sorry. It bothers me.

Ok, also, I think it would have been better if the director didn't know what montage was, because those sequences of "i have a baby! respect and adore me! come, women, i have a gorgeous moustache!" really did not add anything to the movie that could not have been communicated through slightly better acting, as it was in the French film. Oh, but wait, it's not like Tom Selleck can really act anyway. Too bad...

Hey, on that note, I talked to some post-docs around here who had seen the movie when they were growing up... and they said that Tom Selleck (Peter, with the moustache) was actually considered really attractive at the time the movie was made. Out of curiosity, were the French actors considered to be similarly attractive?

On a different note, I found the differences between the woman at the supermarket and the woman at the pharmacy interesting. I don't know whether or not to be offended by it :-p


And going back to my previous comment, I think an important aspect of them giving the criminals away to the police was the fact that they tried to collaborate with them, and trusted that they would not be in trouble if they defended themselves well. I didn't see any of that sort of trust in the French film. And the detective didn't go all grandfatherly and start cuddling the baby.

I thought the general atmosphere of the French film focused on the emotions and personal interactions more, whereas the American film focused on the action of taking care of the baby and getting caught with drugs. Moreover, as in most French movies, the ending was less short and to the point. It really portrayed that the men were sad that the baby was taken away and that they wanted her back. The beginning of the films were different as well, in the American film, it starts out less serious and more lively with Peter's birthday party. The three men's fun, carefree lifestyle in NYC is shown whereas in the French film, the men seem richer, more classy. 

@Irina, that wasn't Sylvia on the stairs, at least I don't think it was. That was another mother. Michel went to the baby because it reminded him of Marie. Either, way, it doesn't matter. But Sylvia was into "modeling" (take it as you will), it makes no real difference.

I didn't think of prostitution in the park scene, though she may as well have been one. I just thought she was another druggie girlfriend.

I agree with Irina. Sylvie the mother was a model not a prostitute and that scene was of her leaving a photo shoot with co-workers.

Je suis d'accord avec Irina je ne pense pas que ce soit une prostitué! La plupart des Américains pensent que le film est mieux dans la version française moi je trouve qu'ils se valent l'un l'autre mais qu'ils ont une vision différente de l'histoire comme dit Jamie Kang.

Grafton, I also thought the end of the french version was boring. But actually if I saw it again I might enjoy it more. I think it's a growing taste. Maybe when the French film does scenes that sound like cliches--e.g. show the men are sad--it's not doing them to hammer your head with cliches, it's actually taking a cliche and making comedy out of it. I think the film's more fun to watch if I'm not watching to be convinced the characters are sad, but to laugh at the characters. If instead of looking for some kind of realism, I just enjoy the fluid satire. I kind of want to go back and see if I can't pick up more on the mood and approach the film takes to comedy. Anybody else get that sense? Or a totally different sense?

To be honest, I didn't prefer either film. I'm not a fan of slapstick humor (I prefer verbal irony or intellectual humor, or esoteric references that aren't understandable by everyone).  Perhaps these elements were in these films, but in either one, the humor is much more on exaggerated behavior.  Which I think is interesting because it shows a common cinematic technique between the two films. 


I guess I had just thought of the prostitution because of the way the scene was set-up.  It seemed like she wasn't taking good care of her child, and it was work that had seemed to last late into the night all the way through until morning, I suppose those were stereotypes/prejudices I had had from the American perspective. 

As a general question, when did France start instituting such strong maternal/familial protection systems in terms of social welfare programs?

Interesting points about the humor. I didn't think the humor in the french version was slapstick, I thought it was pretty subtle, and not even all that exaggerated. Maybe I'm biased because this is much closer to traditional Russian cinematographic technique, but I think the humor in the French film was based more on the situation and the ability to relate to the characters, not anything any more explicit than that. I don't think that makes the movie any less interesting, I just think it's a different approach to humor. I don't know if this is characteristic, though... there are plenty of American films that have subtle humor, and plenty French films that are less subtle. Perhaps it's the 80s that made this movie particularly obnoxious?


On that note, I felt like the American movie was a lot more dated than the French. I could see the story in the French movie happening anytime in the 20th century, pretty much, while the American movie was very obviously set in the 80s and could not be otherwise, just looking at the manner of interaction and all the montage sequences.

I much preferred the French version. If nothing else, it was something different. I couldn't stand the super 80's montage scene from the American version. I had to stop the film several times because I was so irritated by the cliches.

In defense of the American film though, Peter (who was obviously the hero despite not being Mary's father) had a very visible and important relationship to Rebecca which was lacking in the French film. American Rebecca had way more lines than French Rebecca. Though the playboy life was emphasized in both versions, the American film felt much kinder to the women in the film (even if Peter did make that dangerous assumption about women and babies). The women in the French version were incredibly minor and behaved more like props than real characters (the woman during the drug exchange, the drunken girl at the dinner party...). Of course, there was Mme. Rapon, but that didn't end too well.

I did read recently that there's a lot of gender inequality in France. What do people think?

@Johanna Chong

Pour ma part, je pense que il fût un temps oui il y avait beaucoup d'inégalités en France entre l'homme et la femme au niveau du travail tout d'abord mais aussi au niveau social, la femme avait un role essentiel au sein de la famille pour s'occuper des enfants et de la maison et on la considérait comme une mauvaise mère lorsqu'elle avait un travail car c'était comme si elle ne s'occupait pas de sa famille. Maintenant cela va mieux car elle est vue comme une femme active si elle arrive à s'occuper de sa famille et en même temps à travailler, mais il y a toujours certaines inégalités par exemple au niveau du salaire ( une femme a un salaire moins élevé qu'un homme pour un même travail dans certaines entreprises...), mais l'homme a aussi évolué dans le sens où il y en a de plus en plus qui sont homme au foyer ce qui veut dire que c'est donc la femme qui ramène l'argent à la maison.

Et vous comment cela se passe t-il? Il y a beaucoup d'inégalités entre l'homme et la femme?

@ Estelle

The 80s were not too long ago, so we are still able to understand the sentiments between man and baby as well as woman and baby. Jacques and Jack even went to their mothers and considered her friends as potential care-takers of Marie. Though Jack's mom said that his father had been a "screw up," she did not attribute that to him being a man.

With regard to the inequality between man and woman, I find it interesting that you mentioned that there is unequal pay for some jobs. Which professions typically pay equally and which do not? The trend for "stay-at-home" dads is similar in America, there are more and more as the years go on I think. This can be attributed to the increasing number of educated and professionally minded women in America. Of course, there is still inequality among men in women, whether companies will admit to it or not. In some cases, the man just gets a higher position title, so that the harder working women, with a less significant title is justified in being paid less. I have also heard of women being intimidated out of holding positions, even after they were granted their titles.

Another issue is being paid for maternity leave--some employers will pay and others will not. This poses serious issues for women and their husbands, as income might not meet demand.


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Moi, j'ai vu en premier le film américain mais la version française reste ma préférée car je la trouve plus réaliste. J'ai apprécié la période longue pendant laquelle les "3 hommes" retrouvaient enfin leur travail et leurs conquêtes ! Mais qu'au final tout ceci ne faisait plus leur bonheur. Alors que dans la version américaine cette période ne dure que quelques heures : ça a eu sur moi un impact moi important.

Néanmoins, comme l’on dit d’autres avant moi, j'ai plus apprécié le jeu de rôle des acteurs américains que français même si le déroulement de l'histoire américaine était facile à deviner à l'avance. Peut être parce que d’une manière générale je préfère les acteurs et les moyens mis en place par les américains pour réaliser un film que ceux français.

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Je suis plus ou moins d’accord avec ce que tu as lu récemment. Cela se voit dans certaines familles où l’homme travaille et la femme s’occupe de la maison et des enfants. Cependant, de plus en plus de femmes travaillent de nos jours et participent à l’amélioration des conditions de vie du foyer familial. Cela n’empêche pas qu’elles continuent de travailler tout en s’occupant en rentrant de la maison et des enfants. Quelque fois le mari aide sa femme : ils se partagent les tâches mais je ne pense pas que se soit énormément répandu en France.

De plus, il existe encore des inégalités au niveau de la rémunération et des postes entre hommes et femmes. Ceci dit, ces inégalités ne sont pas si visible que cela car on ne peut pas forcément connaître le salaire d’un collègue ou encore comparer 2 individus qui occupent un poste similaire mais qui ont un parcours et des compétences différentes. Mais je pense que d’une manière générale, les hommes sont beaucoup mieux payer que les femmes : pas mal d’études le prouve (Les femmes gagnent 27 % de moins que les hommes. L’écart est de 19 % pour des temps complets et 10 % à poste et expérience équivalents). Source de l’observatoire des inégalités. Par exemple, dans le domaine de la banque, je ne pense pas qu’il y est beaucoup de femmes directrices d’agence ou ayant un poste d’encadrement. Du moins en proportion beaucoup moindre que les hommes …

Ne vaudrait-il mieux pas que l’Etat met en place un système de quotas comme pour les personnes handicapées pour limiter ces inégalités ? Peut être que faire une campagne pour promouvoir la femme au travail pourrait changer petit à petit les mœurs et les préjugés ? Qu’en pensez-vous ? et Qu’en est-il aux Etats-Unis ?


En france toute personne a droit à un congés maternité ou paternité à la naissance de leur enfant. C'est un droit pour les employés s'ils ont au moins travailler un mois dans l'entreprise, et une obligation pour l'employeur.

Si je comprends bien ce n'est pas le cas aux Etats-Unis ?

une choses qui m'a surprise, lors de la scène où il faut acheter à manger pour le bébé, dans la version française il va dans une pharmacie, alors que dans la version américaine il va dans un supermarché, c'est alors une vendeuse qui le conseil sur quel type de nouriture prendre.

Comment avez avez vous trouvez la façon dont la pharmacienne (version française) le conseil par rapport à la façon dont la vendeuse (version américaine) le conseil?

Je voudrais revenir un peu sur l'histoire de la prostitution. Irina, pourquoi vois-tu de la prostitution dans la femme qui accompagne le dealer de drogue dans le parc? Moi, je l'ai simplement vue comme la petite amie du dealer ou comme une autre dealeuse, rien de plus. De même pour l'histoire de Sylvia. L'idée qu'elle puisse être une prostituée ne m'a jamais traversée l'esprit!!!


Comme Jessica je trouve qu'il y a toujours beaucoup d'inégalités de jours entre les hommes et les femmes même si on constate certaines évolutions sur certains points.

Certains d'entre vous du congé de paternité, je ne sais pas si celui ci existe aux Etats Unis mais j'aimerai poser une question au garçon à ce sujet pour voir si les mentalités ont vraiment évoluées :)

Combien d'entre vous seraient prêt à s' arreter de travailler pendant un certain temps si vous aviez un enfant?


A propos de la prostitution, la femme qui accompagne le dealeur ma parru comme un alibi pour l'homme. ça aurai été louche de voir l'homme arrivé seule dans le parc. Grace a la femme il peut se promener sans eveiller l'attention de la police.

Mariya, je ne crois pas que quelqu'un ait répondu à ta question alors voilà : les 3 acteurs du film français étaient également connus en 1985

D'ailleurs je crois que le film leur a permis d'avoir encore plus de succès ensuite!

Je ne sais pas si vous savez mais il y a une suite française a ce film. le titre c'est "18 ans après". Il est sortit en 2003. C'est avec les même acteur sauf que marie a grandit.

voici le résumé:Dix-huit ans après avoir été recueillie par ses trois pères adoptifs, Marie obtient son bac et passe l'été dans le midi avec Sylvia, sa mère revenue d'Amérique. Celle-ci est accompagnée de son époux californien qui a deux fils. Les premières amours se nouent et se dénouent sous les yeux effarés des trois pères qui voient l'enfance de Marie s'enfuir au galop et leurs relations avec les femmes se compliquer gravement.

@ Danielle Class,

Selon L'observatoire des inégalités :

Si l’on tient compte des différences de poste (cadre, employé, ouvrier), d’expérience, de qualification (niveau de diplôme) et de secteur d’activité (éducation ou finance) environ 10 % de l’écart demeure inexpliqué. Cette différence de traitement se rapproche d’une mesure de discrimination pure pratiquée par les employeurs à l’encontre des femmes. Cependant, d’autres facteurs non mesurés ici peuvent entrer en jeu et expliquer partiellement ce phénomène, à l’instar de la situation familiale, du domaine du diplôme possédé ou des interruptions de carrière. La discrimination pure est sans doute de l’ordre de 6 ou 7 %.

Je ne peux pas te dire quels domaines sont vraiment touchés par ce phénomène d'inégalité!

@ Sterenn,

Tiens j'irais voir ça, merci de l'info!



It is interesting that you bring up the inequities between men and women.  One point I actually brought up today in class was during the scene where Jaques/Jack try to pass off Marie to their mothers. In the French film, it seems as though the grandmother feels obligated to find some excuse not to care for the baby, whereas in the American one she bluntly essentially says "I can but I won't, because you need to learn a lesson."  Professor Levet brought up the point I had missed entirely-the French film drew a parallel between the grandmother and Jacques.  She was traveling and thus could not care for the child, just as he had.  She came off as much younger and carefree, whereas in the American film the grandmother came off much more like a matriarch, omniscient and in charge.  I guess I'm less familiar with French archetypes, so it is much easier to see how the American grandmother became somewhat enshrined.

@ Aaron Thom,

Selon toi la Grand-mère américaine est beaucoup plus présente, c'est une personne dominante dans la famille? Je ne sais pas si j'ai bien compris ce que tu as voulu dire ^^