Me Two (La Personne Aux Deux Personnes)
Directors/Screenplay – Nicolas & Bruno [Nicolas Charlet & Bruno Lavaine], Producer – Alain Chabat, Photography – Laurent Dailland, Music – Nicolas Errera, Visual Effects Supervisor – Benjamin Ageorges. Production Company – Chez Wam/Studio Canal/TF1
Daniel Auteuil (Jean-Christian Ranu), Alain Chabat (Gilles Gabriel), Marina Fois (Muriel Perrache), Marie Chevalier (Corinne Gabriel)
Gilles Gabriel, a pop singer who had some minor hits in the 1980s, is driving through the Parisian streets one morning when he runs into Jean-Christian Ranu, a minor clerk at the Cogirp firm. As Jean-Christian gets up and staggers to work, he is puzzled to hear Gilles’s voice in his head wondering where he is. With Jean-Christian thinking that he is going mad, they come to the realisation that Gilles has died and his spirit transferred into Jean-Christian. The dull and boring Jean-Christian is at odds with the aging rocker Gilles. However, Gilles starts to have some influence on Jean-Christian’s life, including helping him with the big presentation he needs to make and in trying to get somewhere with the unrequited object of Jean-Christian’s affections, his boss Muriel.
This French comedy is the brainchild of newcomer directing/writing duo Nicolas Charlet and Bruno Lavaine who bill themselves onscreen simply as ‘Nicolas & Bruno’. Me Two, which enjoyed modest popularity in France, is a variant on the old bodyswap film – although rather than a bodyswap film, it is more of a ‘bodyshare’ film wherein one body ends up being inhabited by two souls. The nearest comparison that one can look to is the comedy All Of Me (1984) wherein Steve Martin ended up sharing his body with Lily Tomlin’s spirit.
Me Two, or to give it its literal English translation which is perhaps more accurately descriptive, The Person with Two People, falls into the cliches of the light fantasy genre. Expectedly the swap occurs between two mutually opposed personalities – a bespectacled mouse of a man (Daniel Auteuil) who lives the dullest and most ordered life imaginable, and an aging rocker (Alain Chabat) living in the faded shadow of his glory days twenty years before. Both of these seem caricature characters. For some reason, Daniel Auteuil spends the whole film outfitted in a bad wig, oversized clear-frame glasses and a very fake tan. You are not sure if this is meant to be part of the character’s mousy, socially awkward look, as Auteuil doesn’t seem to dress too differently even when he starts to discover his self-esteem. Whatever the case, Auteuil looks more like someone on their way to a 1970s retro party trying (badly) to look cool – sort of like the man in the office who tries to disguise his comb-over and only ends up drawing attention to it. Equally so, the lovely Marina Fois as Daniel Auteuil’s object of affection seems to only have two modes – ball-breaking professional ice queen and fawningly in love.
The film progresses through a series of comedic routines, which are all fairly predictable if you have seen any of the films in the light fantasy vein about a person being aided by an invisible presence. These scenes engage in a modest way without any major laugh-out-loud moments. The cutest scenes are when Daniel Auteuil takes over the conference with his keyboard, turning a dull presentation of a statistics report into a musical number. There is a delightful ending where the whole thing appears to start over again as Daniel Auteuil is hit by a car driven by a rapper, which is followed by a series of epilogues interspersed with the end credits where Auteuil and Marina Fois marry, have children and his various personalities vote on baby names, before the final scene where Auteuil is paging his personalities to see if anyone has astrophysical expertise.
[PLOT SPOILERS] One minor complaint about the film is the revelation near the end that rocker Alain Chabat is not dead after all. This twist turns Me Two into more of a split personality film than it is a bodysharing film. Quite how it was that Daniel Auteuil imagined that Chabat was in his head or what fantastical process recreates these personalities is never explained. This also undermines the basic premise somewhat as the split personality explanation leaves Daniel Auteuil in possession of information and skills he could not otherwise have known.