Alex (Hippolyte Girardot) personifies the macho man. Apart from his affair with the baby sitter, Alex is a workaholic, neglectful father and husband to his attractive wife Léa (Alexia Portal), a fashion lingerie designer.
Léa's limit is reached when Alex forgets to pick up the children from school but she gives Alex one last chance if he can answer any one of five questions about his family. He fails and Léa leaves.
Alone in the house on the night of a full moon, a strange force creeps in the window and Alex is miraculously changed into a... woman. And a rather attractive blonde too despite the permanent sneer that Hélène de Fougerolles brings to the role of Alice, the magically converted Alex. De Fougerolles brilliantly portrays the 'macho-trapped-in-a-woman'sbody'.
As Alice, Alex strikes up a friendship with his wife who confides in Alice just how bad Alex really is. In doing so will Alex/Alice become a really nice person? Will anyone believe that Alice is really Alex? And what is the name of his daughter's doll? The well known Thierry Lhermitte plays Didier Marchal, a famous and well-off family counsellor who becomes involved in the lives of Léa and Alex/Alice.
While I found 'Si j'étais elle' a thoroughly entertaining light comedy, I felt that the 1991 film 'Switch' handled the same kind of theme much better. 'Switch' moved through the comedy of the role switch to the drama and desperation of the ex-man set the task of finding someone who really loves 'him' in order to save his soul. 'Si j'étais elle' remains pure comedy throughout and so IMHO, stays rather two-dimensional.
What makes a script great for me is where there is strong character development. That is, one or more key characters are changed forever by their experiences and trials. I was never quite convinced that even such a fantastic transformation had actually changed Alex/Alice deep down as a person.
There are also parallels to 'Mrs Doubtfire' (1993) in which an estranged husband gets closer to his family by becoming their nanny. And again in this film, as in 'Switch', there were both character development and poignancy.
There are some lovely comical moments though. Watch out for the first few minutes after Alex's transformation and the mannequin parade scene alone makes the film worthwhile.
All up, an entertaining and amusing 95 minutes.
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