Review: 'Love At First Child' Starring Patrick Bruel & Isabelle Carré

Love at First Child is a new romantic comedy out on VOD today. A hit in its native France back in 2015, this subtitled rom-com has now made its way to our shores. The film tells the story of an unexpected teenage pregnancy from the point of view of the teens’ respective single parents. An interesting twist on a familiar story, Love at First Child is a sweet and enjoyable little movie.

The film stars Patrick Bruel as Ange, the typical money first/people last loveable-dick protagonist we’ve come to expect in romantic comedies. To his credit, Bruel plays this character with such charm that you’re able to come to like him regardless of his flaws. Think France’s answer to Robert Downey Jr. His fast-paced life is thrown off balance when Gabrielle (Isabelle Carré) arrives with troubling news. She explains that her teenage daughter is pregnant with the child of Ange’s estranged son. Gabrielle suggests that Ange should patch up his relationship with the young man and convince him to help raise the coming child. Of course, Gabrielle and Ange hit it off, further complicating matters, and quiet French hilarity ensues.

The movie pulls its humor from very unexpected places. This is obviously a touchy subject, and the film knows that and handles it with care. That being said, there’s an almost sitcom sensibility to it all that creates for a very unusual tone when balanced with the heavy plotline. For a romantic comedy, it didn’t really have jokes, so much as it did a general lightness and silliness to it as a whole. This seemed very odd to me, but perhaps this is more typical of mainstream French humor? Unsophisticated American that I am, I have no idea.

What was interesting to me about the film was how many unexpected turns the plot took. A typical American romantic comedy would have been content exploring the lead-up to the child’s birth, whereas First Child continues into a post-baby third act that I really didn’t see coming. Once again, I’m not sure if this is a “we’re simplistic Americans” issue I had with the film, or if it truly is just structured weird. Damn you, sense of international ignorance!

 Overall, I did enjoy Love at First Child. It was quiet, cute, and fun, but that’s pretty much it. I do wish that a teen-pregnancy-romantic-comedy would have something more to say about this complex subject, like Juno. Even without that, though, I enjoyed it nonetheless. It’s a pleasant little film, and that’s about as good as it gets.

Love at First Child is available now on VOD.

3 out of 5