Thursday, January 16, 2014

French Movie Adaptations Gone Mal

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Delivery Man was once called Starbuck while still in production. An immediate remake of the original French film Starbuck about a man who donates a shed load of sperm just to find out that 533 children have been born thanks to his donations. Now as he faces a pregnant girlfriend he also has to deal with being sued by his offspring who wish to know his true identity. This which already sounds like a train wreck was for some reason brought to the big screen with stars Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, and Colbie Smulders.

We’ve drawn up a list of French movies which inspired a remake in the US, and didn’t translate well. Some of their downfalls lie in trying to adapt the films cut by cut, while others try to Americanise some things that are too French to translate. Check out our list and let us know what you think!


The French originals were funny, action packed, fast and unpredictable. It starred Frederic Diefenthal while the new and unimproved American versions were sad and tried too hard. It starred Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifah and Gisele Bundchen. A too well known trio which didn’t make an impact quite as sustainable as that of Emma Sj√∂berg, Samy Naceri and Marion Cotillard. The French version had two sequels while no one wanted to see a follow up to the American TAXI!

La Femme Nikita 

Luc Besson has always been great at merging the French with the American. His film Leon featured a very French fashioned Mathilda (Natalie Portman) and French actor Jean Reno of course there was also a name change there to The Professional for anyone who struggled to pronounce Leon French enough. Point Of No Return, replaced Anne Parillaud with Bridget Fonda in the American version, got rid of the violence and the intensity. Boring….


When Sophie Marceau takes a bath with her daughter it’s somewhat natural but there is something jarring about Miley Cyrus getting into the tub with Demi Moore. We’ve seen both films and they are quite identical. Have a look at the trailers and try to spot the difference – there isn’t one. When it comes to coming of age films a difference in cultures need to be recognised. Sadly none of that has been taken into consideration and French LOL is brought to American high schools – and it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Paris je t'aime 

The short stories film Paris I love you was ground-breaking in its format. The stories were complicated, some were intertwined, and all were very well thought through. Although written and directed by French film makers, and all played out in Paris, there were guest appearances by American actors Natalie Portman and Willem Defoe. The concept was soon taken to New York and there wasn’t as much love for the city as there were romances in the film. Natalie Portman made an appearance in this version as well, both as director and actress.

Those that did pull it off: EDTV, The Next Three days, Three Men and a Baby, The Tourist, Twelve Monkeys, Wicker Park

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