by Rosie Fearon
If you strip I Do down to its fundamental components it can be probably best be summarised as Pretty Woman seen through a slightly quirky French filter. Did you ever catch Richard Gere wearing a gimp mask? No; I didn’t think so. The protagonist is Luis, a middle aged perfumier who is the archetypal committment-phobe; reluctant to move on from his adolescence and escape from the Godfather-esque herd of matriarchs who run his life for him. Pushing him towards marriage they introduce him to a series of attractive, intelligent women who add to the feminine blanket that surrounds him, emphasised through the director’s clever employment of split screen technique. Determined to take action and to regain his masculinity, Luis decides to hire someone to pose as a potential fiancé in order to halt the wife-hunting female brethren in their tracks. After dismissing internet escorts as too expensive (Julia Roberts wouldn’t get a look in), he persuades Emanuelle, a colleague’s sister to take the job. After successfully getting dumped at the altar, Luis’ plan appears to have worked a little too well, and the comedic second half of the film is dominated by his campaign to get his family to reverse their opinions about Emma so that he can escape from the relationship. The film then takes the predictable turn of deeper feelings developing between the two main characters, which is complicated slightly by the fact that Emma is in the middle of adopting a child (from Brazil; how very Angelina of her). The fact that Luis, a fundamentally selfish and slightly pedantic neat freak, is won over by the toothy smile of an orphan from the other side of the world seems to let the film down slightly. I Do tries to deviate from the traditional rom-com format by bulking up its plot with sidelines that are never fully developed, apparently designed to keep us wondering about the outcome of the story. These tagged on sections of the narrative are never quite engaging enough to make us really care about the characters they involve. The time would be better spent in exploring the understated chemistry that exists between Luis and Emanuelle, and reconciling the fact that they both seem to be searching for something but can’t quite seem to grasp it.A charming, Saturday morning piece of film-making, I Do isn’t going to change the world, but it succeeded in making the afternoon’s essay a lot easier to write after a good dose of boy meets girl, boy and girl have some problems, and boy and girl shack up together with an extremely cute baby.