A version of this review appeared in The Age, July 5, 2012.
If nothing else, Remi Bezançon's twee look at the before-and-after of childbirth offers a lesson on the cultural differences between French cinema and Hollywood. The heroine Barbara (Louise Bourgoin) is a philosophy student who spends the movie working on her thesis, even as personal experience gives her a whole new perspective on the fraught connection between Self and Other. “My life was no longer mine. I was a void, a chasm, a nothing...” That's not the kind of voiceover commentary we were ever going to hear in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up.
Like Katherine Heigl's character in the Apatow film, Barbara is a testy beauty whose life-plan is derailed when she falls pregnant. In her case, this happens shortly after she gets together with her boyfriend Nicolas (Pio Marmaï) – who thankfully looks nothing like Seth Rogen, even if he does work in a video store and enjoy Star Trek. Before they can care for a child successfully the pair have to grow up themselves, which means addressing the problems they have with their own parents.
The film is more relaxed about sex than most of its American equivalents, and is also reasonably frank about the less frequently raised topic of how post-natal depression can threaten a relationship. But for the most part this is the usual kind of dreary commercial French comedy – a sea of whimsical montage and fantasy sequences, pseudo-dramatic confrontations, and jokes designed to congratulate the audience on their knowledge of culture high and low.