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The Closet (Le Placard) (2001)

  Directed by: Francis Veber
Written by: Francis Veber
Starring: Michel Aumont, Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu
Links: The Closet on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Closet (Le Placard) (2001) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Après vous... (2003).

"A gay old time" - a review by mino

The Closet is the next film from Francis Veber, the writer/director of The Dinner Game (1998) — which should be more than enough of a pedigree to tell you that it's bound to be a highly entertaining farce. And, by gosh, that's exactly what it is.

The Closet is the story of François Pignon, an unassuming — in fact, outright boring — accountant in a company that makes, ahem, ‘rubber products’. Pignon is a total non-entity, ignored by everyone in the company, from the two other accountants he works with to the CEO and even the guy who takes the annual company photo. His ex-wife finds him insufferably dull, and even his son avoids talking to him on the phone whenever possible. When he overhears colleagues in the toilet talking about how he's going to be sacked, Pignon finds himself at a loss, and ponders taking his own life. He's interrupted, though. by a kindly neighbour (the wonderful Michel Aumont, who is instantly likeable), who hatches a cunning plan: if Pignon pretends that he's gay, then the company won't dare to sack him for fear of a discrimination lawsuit.

What follows is, admittedly, fairly predictable. The belief that Pignon is gay forces everyone to re-evaluate their opinions of him, and suddenly Pignon finds himself the most popular man on campus, as it were. His son is suddenly proud of him, his colleagues fascinated, and even the boorish company bully (Gérard Depardieu, in a role which reminds you of the charm that made him famous in the West, even though he's playing a jerk) is suddenly his friend, though this is more at the insistence of some company pranksters than out of any real sympathy — at least at first.

I can't say that I've seen a great many French farces, but I've seen enough to know that this is a great one. While there are plenty of gay jokes, and it's quite politically incorrect in parts, it's done so gently and so charmingly that I find it very hard to believe that anyone at all could take offense. The humour is a wonderful mix of slapstick, verbal humour, and situational comedy, and the viewer is kept smiling all the way through. Big ol' belly-laughs aren't really the order of the day, but there are very few flat spots. The characters are wonderful, and you instantly sympathise with each one (even the arseholes).

The star of the show, though, is Auteuil, in more ways than one. He's a great lead, and his performance as Pignon is a truly memorable one. Pignon is just a goofball, and it's impossible not to want to cheer him on. While predictable, and building to a rather pat ending, The Closet is a wonderfully fun movie which really lends itself to curling up on the couch on a Saturday night.

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 9 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. id have to say it was a crap movie. im not french i hate french

    Rating given: 1

    A comment from asd on Sun 20 Mar 2005 21:02 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 1.00 (1 rating)

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