Monday, September 26, 2011

The Closet (Le Placard)

2001, R, 84 minutes

The 73rd Virgin says... Another big sunshiny French sex comedy featuring Daniel Auteuil as Francois, an uninteresting divorced accountant at a condom manufacturing plant who discovers he is due to be laid off. His new neighbor finds him on his apartment balcony ready to jump.

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Yes I know, why aren't there more kittens in movies? Anyway, his new friend convinces Francois to try an alternate plan by photoshopping his picture into some old gay bar photos he happens to have lying around, and mailing them anonymously to Francois' employer. With this stroke of genius he is now impossible to fire and becomes more intriguing to his coworkers. Gerard Depardieu, who in 2001 was getting rather too old and fat for this kind of role, is the oafish human resources man, Felix, who also is the company's rugby team coach.

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Two pranksters in Felix's department start to fill his head with stories that he is about to be let go for his homophobic jokes, so he begins trying to befriend Francois with a lunch, a pink sweater, etc.

Eventually in an effort to find an incriminating tattoo, Francois' female boss tries to take his shirt off and he now accuses her of sexual harassment. In time Francois is set up as the company's gay pride parade float ornament where he is observed by his estranged wife and son who instantly take a new interest in him as well.

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The Depardieu character is too broad and silly, but there are some very funny one-liners and situations, and blessedly only a moment's pathos while his old neighbor reflects on what it means to be gay now versus 30 years ago. A very funny and harmless 84 minutes.

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