The Stroller Strategy is a story of a couple who meet at a party and after the ups and downs that come with normal “couple” business, they end up again meeting at a party to start the beginning of the rest of their relationship, if that makes sense. French heartthrob Raphaël Personnaz plays Parisian Thomas Platz, and Charlotte Le Bon plays Marie.
This movie is sort of a throwback to the American movie Three Men and a Baby, but with just one father. Marie is infatuated with Thomas, as he is with her when they first meet at her birthday party about a year earlier, which she actually leaves to join him at his apartment. They fall in love, but as the year progresses, Marie wants more, and that is a baby. However, Thomas isn’t ready for fatherhood, and with this admission, Marie decides that she can’t be with him any longer. Thomas admits that he can’t afford to take care of a baby on his small salary, as they walk up the stairs to yet another apartment that he has found.
Marie actually leaves him on her birthday, right as he is trying to surprise her with a party. Thomas is just broken hearted, and even with counseling from his buddy, who says that in order to attract women men have to appear as if they are ready for fatherhood—with a stroller and baby toys at the ready—Thomas doesn’t fall for this. But Thomas doesn’t have to fall for this scheme, because his neighbor takes a nasty fall, and her 4-month-old baby ends up being saved by Thomas, as he catches the baby and breaks his fall. The neighbor ends up in the hospital for five days, and Thomas is charged with keeping the young infant named Leo. So a light bulb goes off, and Thomas concocts a plan to use Leo as a ruse to get Marie back. But Marie isn’t going for it at first; because she believes that Thomas has taken up with another woman so soon after their break up and that he actually had a baby with this woman—even after Marie had begged him to start a family with her. It’s one trip after another, as Thomas learns to take care of Leo and even grows close to him, as Leo’s mother is recuperating.
When the mother is released from the hospital, Thomas isn’t quite through with his plan to win Marie back. He listens too much to his friend, who is a tennis coach whom Thomas believes has missed his chance at success. In the meantime, Thomas tries to go about his job as an artist, while learning to change diapers and figure out just what sounds the baby makes to which he should respond.
One cute scene shows Thomas going to a company where he is vying for a position as a greeting card illustrator, and he tries to conceal the baby in a duffle bag. As Leo makes cooing sounds, Thomas tries to mock them, as if they are coming from him. Eventually, the prospective employer smells an odor, and just straight out asks if he smells shit. The baby starts crying, and the masquerade is over. However, it turns out that the employer is a granddad and is in awe that Thomas would be so attached to his son that he would bring him to a job interview.
In the end, all doesn’t go well, as Leo’s mother becomes enraged that Thomas has taken her child off to a Bouncing Babies meet and greet. She comes in and blasts Thomas to the high heavens, and Marie discovers that her ex-boyfriend has been lying. But all isn’t over, and Thomas gets one last chance to make it work with Marie.
The Stroller Strategy is a great look into the minds of men as they try to skirt responsibility with parenthood, but also try to use whatever tricks they can pull to attract women who find fatherhood sexy. And even though Marie had found another boyfriend, she finally figures out that he isn’t the right one for her. She and Thomas are, in fact, a couple made for each other.
Director Clément Michel’s hit romantic comedy The Stroller Strategy starts in New York June 14, with a national release shortly thereafter.