The couple who try to rebuild a relationship post-divorce is fertile ground for comedy. Martin Bourboulon’s Papa ou Maman is an excellent example of an original idea, a well-written script and bucket loads of chemistry between the two lead actors Laurent Lafitte and Marina Foïs. Elements sadly lacking from Dominique Farrugia’s tedious comedy Sous le Meme Toit. In an attempt to put a new twist on a well-tried formula, Farrugia’s divorced couple Delphine (Louise Bourgoin) and Yves (Gilles Lellouche) are forced to live under the same roof until Yves can afford to move out. It brings a contemporary touch to a film distinctly lacking new ideas. Do audiences still find funny men like Yvan who don’t cook or do housework, who fly into a jealous rage when their ex-wife brings homes a new man and who enjoy walking around naked in front of an ex-mother-in-law and her poker-playing friends? It feels like Farrugia is clutching at straws. To make matters worse, it’s difficult to imagine this couple were ever in love – surely the death knell for any film with ambitions to being a romantic comedy. Following so quicky after Eric Lavaine’s uninspired L’Embarras du Choix, it would seem French romantic comedies have currently hit a dry patch,
After 15-years of marriage to Yvan, Delphine decides their relationship is in a rut and she wants a divorce. Yvan is in the middle of a career change and doesn’t have the means to rent an apartment of his own. No longer able to squat on friends’ sofas, he reminds Delphine he owns 20% of the marital home and moves back in with his ex-wife and their two children Violette (Adele Castillon) and Lucas (Koila Abiteboul). It’s soon obvious the divorced couple can no longer share the same living space.
Gilles Lellouche is not a natural comic actor. Great in taut thrillers like Gibraltar and La French, he is too brooding and agressive to charm audiences over to his side. Bourgoin, best known to international cinemagoers as Adele Blanc Sec in Luc Besson’s film of the same name, seems awkward and ill at ease as Delphine. Manu Payet and Marilou Berry play the hapless couple’s best friends. Both actors have successful careers in comedy and could have been given more to do to shore-up Sous Le Meme Toit’s distinctly hit-and-miss humour.