Mes amis, mes amours
- Tom Dawson
- 3 July 2008
Mes Amis, Mes Amours resembles a Gallic version of a Richard Curtis movie, set in an affluent, quarter of London and peopled by French expats: it’s less a romantic comedy than a sentimental fantasy of city living among an ultra-friendly community of shopkeepers and bistro-owners. Two middle-aged pals who are both divorced, architect Antoine (Pascal Elbe) and bookshop-owner Mathias (Vincent London), decide to live together with their young children under the same roof. Naturally the grown-ups are temperamentally unsuited to being housemates – Antoine is fanatically tidy and draws up lists of rules, while Mathias is cheerfully disorganised and impulsive. The domestic arrangements are further complicated by Mathias falling for beautiful TV journalist Audrey (Virginie Ledoyen) who wanders into his shop one day looking for 18th century French literature.
Working from her brother Marc’s best-selling novel, director Lorraine Levy elicits amiable performances from her cast, but the visual and verbal gags reap precious few dividends, and she appears only to be able to conceive of London in picture-postcard terms. Meanwhile, the closeness of Antoine’s and Mathias’s relationship leads both characters to worry about being mistaken for a gay couple, and it’s hard not to read the cursorily handled romance between Mathias and the much younger Audrey as a textbook example of displaced desire.