Director: Hugo Gelin
Runtime: 118 minutes
It has been a few weeks, maybe even a few months, since I wrote a film review for FilmBunker. I enjoy writing very much, though my capacity to write for fun has been severely diminished by the recent onslaught of university essays.
When the mid-semester break finally emerged on the horizon, I quickly put my hand up to review Two is a Family (or Demain tout Commence), a French comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Hugo Gelin.
I was certain this film would aid my glorious return to the hallways of FilmBunker. After all, the cast is led by French actor and comedian Omar Sy, who is most recognisable amongst Western audiences for his role as Bishop in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Barry in Jurassic World (2015) and for providing the voice of Hot Rod in Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).
I first stumbled upon Omar Sy in the 2011 French buddy comedy-drama film The Intouchables. Omar’s portrayal of Bakary “Driss” Bassari, an unambitious welfare recipient turned caregiver and best friend to a wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe (Francois Cluzet), earned him a Cesar Award for Best Actor, thereby becoming the first actor of African descent to win France’s national film award.
Though The Intouchables is brilliant in its own right, Sy’s scenes are infallibly uplifting and affecting. Sy has a history in sketch comedy, and his booming laugh, lanky frame, and sharp wit are foregrounded to aid the film’s realistic take on the joys of friendship.
Have you noticed yet how I haven’t mentioned Two is a Family? Yeah, that is because I don’t want to.
Two is a Family was by no means unwatchable, it just was not enjoyable.
Two is a Family begins with the hedonistic and womanising ways of Samuel (Sy), a luxury boat captain ‘working’ in Southern France. Samuel is awoken one morning by Kristin Stuart (Clemence Poesy), a Franco-British woman with whom he had a one-night stand the previous year. Unbeknownst to Sam, she has since given birth to their daughter, Gloria, who she promptly abandons with Sam before heading back to London.
Sam uses all of his money to follow Kristin back to London, where he is unsuccessful in thrusting Gloria back into Kristin’s care. In the London tube, he meets Bernie (Antoine Bertrand), a French producer who agrees to house Sam and Gloria and also lands Sam a job as a stuntman. Eight years past and Sam and Gloria (Gloria Colston) now have a fantastic relationship, living together in a colourful loft complete with two-storey high slides and an alfresco home cinema.
Obviously, their tranquillity is disturbed when Kristin reappears on the scene, desperate to fulfil her seemingly renewed maternal instincts.
The film is a direct remake of the highly successful Spanish-language comedy-drama Instructions not Included (2013), though the content feels recycled even if you have not seen this film.
I am not against the whole ‘eligible bachelor transforms into caring father figure’ trope- The Pacifier (2005) with Vin Diesel is always easy to watch- but they condense Sam’s whole transformation into a three-minute music video-esque montage.
The rest of the film just treads water until the climactic plot twist, which did catch me off-guard, but still was not a worthy payoff for 118 minutes of my time.
And despite growing up with a single French dad and attending a French-language school, Gloria speaks with an American accent. She explains this away as learning to speak English ‘from watching television’, but it just seems like the casting director gave up looking for the right girl.
Save your money and watch The Intouchables on Netflix. You deserve to enjoy the dazzling beacon that is Omar Sy.