In this comedy, three Parisian swingers find their bachelor pad invaded by the fruit of a night of forgotten passion. Noisy, and not short of unison waddling walks.
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Serreau directs for maximum freneticism, with her actors rushing around and regurgitating great torrents of imperfectly subtitled dialogue (a gratuitous subplot involving drug traffickers seems to have been inserted just to double the hysteria), and while there are more than a few laughs, most of them are laughs of recognition—seeing these gags again is like coming across long-lost (and vaguely embarrassing) relations.
While the story has few surprises, parts of it are amusing and the performances are convincing.
Predictably cute. The only surprise about 3 Men and a Cradle is that it is the hit in Paris, winning three French Oscars, being nominated for an American Oscar, and, unbelievably, outgrossing E.T. and Rambo at the French box office. But then the French have loved the last few Jerry Lewis movies, too.
A simple equation, perhaps, but when it comes to comedy, simpler is frequently funnier. This formula has already worked beautifully in France, where the movie has broken all box-office records and has won three Cesars (the French equivalent of the Oscar) including one for best picture.
No one with the slightest knowledge of human nature will be able to find a single moment of this film to believe. It is all formula, every last miserable frame of it.
3 Men and a Cradle is a perfectly pleasant little piffle; watching it with an audience you'll probably hear, as I did, that soft cooing sound people make at the sight of a really adorable baby. This picture won't rot your brain or lead your children into nasty habits. It's just French pablum.
Three Men and a Cradle is almost totally charmless. It's funny in the way of someone who, in attempting to explain a joke, thoroughly destroys the humor, which, I assume, is mostly the fault of Coline Serreau, who wrote and directed it.