Released in 2014, “Babysitting” was a critical and commercial success, thanks to its concept mixing comedy and found footage. However, another American film produced 2 years ago used the same method.
Baby sitting : first success at the cinema for Fifi’s band
In 2005, Michel Denisot introduced in his program The Big Newspaper a funny comic troupe: La bande à Fifi. Composed of Philippe Lacheau, Élodie Fontan, Tarek Boudali, Reem Kherici, Julien Arruti and Pascal Boisson, the group continues the sketches and increases its notoriety. Like the Splendid troupe before it, La Bande à Fifi later decided to perform at the cinema. It starts with Paris at all cost. Indeed, the film is directed by Reem Kherici and co-scripted with Philippe Lacheau. The comedy is not a great success but allows the troupe to be noticed on the big screen. The second test comes a year later and is called Baby sitting.
Directed by the “leader” of the band Philippe Lacheau (known as Fifi), it brings together almost the entire team (with the exception of Reem Kherici and Elodie Fontan). We therefore follow Franck, a reception agent whose dream is to become a comic book designer. One day, he has the opportunity to get closer to his boss who is the CEO of the publishing house where he works. The latter offers him to read a draft of his work, on condition that he can keep his son for an evening. Franck accepts immediately but his friends who absolutely want to celebrate his birthday the same evening do not hear it that way. For Franck, the night will be very long.
Very well received by critics, Baby sitting attracts more than two million viewers to French theaters. This allows Philippe Lacheau and his team to establish themselves in the popular French comedy sector, and even to renew it through their influences borrowed from Anglo-Saxon or Asian films.
Plagiarism of Project X ?
At the beginning, Baby sitting comes out of the shackles of traditional French comedy through its concept. Indeed, the film is made largely in found footage, a technique quite rare in French cinema but which has become popular in the USA during the last decade, especially in the horror genre. Indeed, since the success of The Blair Witch Project, a number of productions made in the form of mockumentaries and handheld cameras have emerged. In 2012, director Nima Nourizadeh used this technique to produce his crazy comedy: Project X. Made as both a music video and a mockumentary, the feature film thus follows final year students who organize a private party in the house of one of their own. But things escalate very quickly.
On paper, the concept as well as part of the plot looks a lot like Baby sitting. So that when the first trailer of Philippe Lacheau appears, many spectators as well as certain critics quickly accuse him of plagiarism towards Project X. The reality, however, is quite different: the idea of Baby sitting came long before Fifi’s Band saw Nima Nourizadeh’s comedy.
Thus, on the set of Touch my postdirector Philippe Lacheau explains:
I was among the first to go see the film and I saw that there were things that looked alike… but that it was very different. So we even changed scenes to try to move away a bit. But in the end, it’s a blessing in disguise, because if there hadn’t been Project X I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to get this film together financially.