Nicolas has a happy existence, parents who love him, a great group of friends with whom he has great fun, and all he wants is that nothing changes. However, one day, he overhears a conversation that leads him to believe that his life might change forever, his mother is pregnant! He panics and envisions the worst.
Before I saw this movie I was strongly skeptical.
First of all “Nicholas” while being one of top 10 children books ever made… Have no storyline. It’s just series of very funny but very short stories center around a group little French boys. There’s no adventures or perils – just amusing anecdotes from every day life of Nicholas and his friends.
Second of all the books was written by Rene Goscinny. A French author most know for his comic books “Asterix” and “Lucky Luke”. While those are some of the most delightful peaces of graphic novels I ever read I sadly must admit they where butchered during the last decades with some horrible, horrible adaptations (with few exceptions, second Asterix movie was pretty good) “Nicholas” being a hard material to adapt already felt like a bad idea, and the fact so many of Goscinny’s work was made into terrible movies wasn’t a sing they will treat it with a proper respect. To be honest making “Nicholas” into a movie felt like going pretty low to get some money from his creation. When I was a kid I dreamed of Asterix being made into a movie even back there Nicholas felt like a absurd idea.
The third reason I know it won’t work was the fact it was a children movie. Obviously it wouldn’t work in any different way but the fact is Nicholas stories never had morals or life lessons. In fact stories where pretty cynical. A lot of humor came from the fact that Nicholas pals would get into fist fights very quickly. The kids would call each other names all the time and Nicholas parents would fight and argue all the time. It was part of the charm, however we live now in the age of Political correctness so I was sure they will tone down the violence, make it more sugary sweet/cute and ad some morals
To my big surprise Non of those problems appear in the movie! The script makes a excellent combination of different Nicholas stories and stay true to the characters and their personalities and in fact spends a lot of time playing with the character and their personalities. I like this type of movies as you never feels the plot rushing you just enjoy the ride and individual time spent with each character. The humor is great. It uses a lot of lines from the book but ads a lot of jokes and I must say It actually gets pretty dark at moments. I don’t got to much into detail since some of the biggest laugh-out-loud jokes come from the black humor. The kids actor where fantastic and where cast very well reflecting different personalities from the book. There is even a sequence which is a homage to Goscinny’s other work (Asterix) as well a cute paper-cut-out opening sequence which is a tribute to Sempe – the illustrator. In a way it was very much like the book. Just collection of small anecdotes but tide into a larger story at the same time which build up to a terrific and incredible funny punch line. The ending is in fact very sweet and heath worming without being off-character for the series.
My only complains are total nitpicks. Some characters where completely different (fiscally) that the way I imagine them in the books (especially Nicholas parents) but the actors manage to make them work in their own way. Few characters (girl that’s Nicholas love interest or the next door neighbor) felt to be forced into the script just because “they where in the books” and their scenes serve no purpos other then showing those characters for the fans. There was maybe one or two gags that where completely off-character for the series as well few small moments that don’t make sense in any translation out-side of France.
Overall It’s surprisingly fun movie both adults and kids will enjoy. One of best adaptations of Goscinny’s works!
Director: Laurent Tirard
Writers: Laurent Tirard (screenplay), Grégoire Vigneron (screenplay)
Stars: Maxime Godart, Vincent Claude, Charles Vaillant
Country: France | Belgium
Release Date: 30 September 2009 (Belgium)
Also Known As: Little Nicholas
Filming Locations: Avenue Junot, Paris 18, Paris, France
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 1.74 GiB
Duration : 1 h 31 min
Overall bit rate : 2 726 kb/s