TWO IS A FAMILY
Director: Hugo Gélin
Screenwriters: Eugenio Derbez, Hugo Gélin, Leticia López Margalli, Mathieu Oullion, Guillermo Rios, Jean-André Yerles, in collaboration with Igor Gotesman
Runtime: 117 mins.
Australian Release Date: Thursday 28 June
Previewed at: Windsor Theatre, Perth, on Saturday 23 June.
Hugo Gélin's bonafide crowd-pleaser, Two Is A Family, not only stormed the box office during France's Christmas holidays, it also charmed audiences internationally and was the most popular French-language film of 2017 worldwide, but the question has to be asked, “Pourquoi?” Granted, it does have its moments and is a tender father/daughter tale of unconditional love, but it is also so cliché ridden at times that you have to wonder if it lost its way in some cultural translation.
The irrepressible Omar Sy plays the charismatic Samuel, who enjoys a decadent lifestyle on the sun-drenched coast near Marseilles in his role as skipper of a resort's motor yacht. One day, while cavorting on the boat with a couple of pleasure-seeking young ladies, his idyll is shattered by a visit from a former lover, Kristen (Clémence Poésy), who deposits the fruit of their previous summer's tryst – an infant daughter, Gloria – in his arms and swiftly departs. Not exactly keen on looking after a baby, Samuel follows her to the UK in an attempt to return the child but, unable to find her, is forced to bring Gloria up on his own. He stays in London, finding work as a stunt-man in the movies, and teaches his growing daughter (Gloria Colston) to make the most of life and to enjoy it as much as she can, thus creating an inseparable bond between them. He fills their apartment with oversized colourful toys, giving the impression they live in their own fantasy world, and allows the girl to take time off school so they can hang out together. Gloria pines for her mother, however, so Samuel writes emails to her, pretending to be Kristen, until the day the errant mum turns up in the flesh. She is riddled with remorse at not taking on the responsibility of motherhood and now intends to make amends, throwing both Samuel’s and Gloria’s lives into disarray.
There are some delightful scenes between Sy and Colston, who work really well together and rise above some of the more cringeworthy sequences. There is, regrettably, a gay character Bernie (Antoine Bertrand), a friend of Samuel's and surrogate uncle to Gloria, who is poorly written and comes across as a parody of homosexuality, a guy who thinks all straight men are gay and are interested in him. It's the kind of lazy, stereotyped misrepresentation that used to be seen in the cinema but, thankfully, hasn't been evident for some years. It isn't offensive so much as trite and clichéd. A few glaring plot holes also let down what is mostly an enjoyable yarn but, be warned, there's a sad sting in the tail of this tale. Two Is A Family is, nonetheless, worth the price of a ticket to watch Omar Sy, who is always mesmerizing and will be remembered fondly by lovers of French cinema for his role as Rafael Padilla in 2016’s Monsieur Chocolat.