Newest Reviews
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Iron Mask, The
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
  Trois Hommes et un Couffin bringing up baby
Year: 1985
Director: Coline Serreau
Stars: Roland Giraud, Michel Boujenah, André Dussollier, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Three Men and a Baby (1987) is yuppie coaxing, Eighties pap - yet perversely, one of this writer’s earliest cinema-going memories - but what of the French original? Writer-director Coline Serreau’s comedy was one of the biggest international hits of its era, and won best picture at France’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Cesar awards. Its comic set-up is ingeniously simple: Pierre (Roland Giraud), Michel (Michel Boujenhah), and Jacques (André Dussolier), three fun-loving bachelors have their lives turned upside down with the arrival of two packages - a shipment of heroin and a baby girl, Marie.

The way Coline Serreau launches into her story without meandering scenes explaining whom everyone is (No pop video intros featuring Gloria Estefan here, folks!) provides a lesson in good screenwriting: characters defined by action, propelling the plot forward. The Hollywood remake takes the drugs sub-plot into that most Eighties of genres, the yuppies-in-peril comedy/thriller. Serreau uses hand held-cameras to stage genuinely heart-stopping scenes: the aftermath of the smugglers’ raid, where Pierre fears Marie has been kidnapped and a sublime, nicely underplayed confrontation at the supermarket. Michel - hitherto meek and neurotic - nearly murders the creep who threatens ‘his’ baby. Being a parent changes you forever.

After that, Serreau concentrates on the real story, confronting her hapless bachelors with nappy changes, crying fits, sleepless nights, and unsympathetic party guests - stuff familiar to parents (mothers in particular) the world over. They’re decent guys - the truly callous would’ve dumped Marie with social services - but Serreau avoids saccharine sentimentality by showing their occasional resentment towards the poor, little mite. Fewer cutesy scenes and greater emotional intensity leave this less dated than its remake, though Serreau’s moving, romantic comedy Romuald et Juliette (1989) remains her best film. Roland Giraud and Michel Boujenhah - who directed his own treatise on fatherhood, Fathers and Sons (2003) - are experienced comic performers whose scenes fizzle with energy. Veteran character actor André Dussolier’s soliloquy bemoaning men’s inability to give birth is both hilarious and touching. Later, the arrival of Sylvia (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) enables the heroes to empathise with problems experienced by single mothers.

Trois homes et un Couffin remains too superficial to truly reassess the role of the father in society, but the heroes’ slow-blossoming love for Marie is charming, and Serreau’s conclusion pleases, being less fairytale smug than its American doppelganger. Nearly two decades on, Serreau delivered a sequel: 18 Years Later (2003). Unavailable in the UK, the critical consensus suggests it was a dud. But, based on past evidence, one is inclined to give Serreau the benefit of the doubt. After all, could it be any worse than Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)?
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4836 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor


Last Updated: