Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Oh those wacky Frenchmen.  When they’re not fleeing bad situations in terror, they are off somewhere making funny little comedies.  A ‘The Closet’ (Le Placard) from writer director Francis Verber is just that.  I have seen my share of French films and I have got to hand it to those Jerry Lewis loving bastards, their movies, whether you like them or not usually leave some kind of impact.  I’m told this movie features a collection of All-Star French acting talent. Daniel Auetiel is Pingon, a man so insignificant and non-descript that he is barely noticed by anyone.  Even at the condom company where he has toiled thanklessly as an account manager for twenty years.  He is divorced from a beautiful woman who could care less about him, even though he still pines for her, his seventeen year son finds him a total drag, and once he overhears a bathroom conversation that he will be soon be released due to redundancy, he’s about ready to end it all.  However, just before he’s about to launch himself from his balcony, Belone, a kindly old neighbor played by Michael Aumont comes to save the day (wise old people always have a way of popping up at the right time in movies).  Belone advises Pignon that in these politically correct times, if he can convince the company that he is gay, they wouldn’t dare release him.  Pignon balks at the suggestion claiming he could never act gay.  Belone counters that if he tries to ‘act’ gay everyone would see through him, but if just acts natural, the changes will be people’s perceptions of him.  So with a little help from Photoshop, followed by a few incriminating photos begin to circulate through the office, and as Belone predicted, his job is saved. 

But of course there are complications.  Pignon’s immediate supervisor, played by the unnaturally beautiful Michele Laroque, correctly believes it’s a clever ploy.  A brutish homophobic racist manager played brilliantly by Gerard DePardieu is forced to

befriend the guy, even though he hated him when he thought he straight.  The company’s chairman wants him to be the face of the corporation for the Gay Pride parade, and of course he has to get gay bashed.  All of these gags, and then some, are all ridiculous, over the top, and extremely funny.  The subject matter, in less skilled hands, could come off as insulting and condescending.  Here however, it is handled meticulously and never offends (but you’d probably have to confirm this with a gay dude).  By the time Pignon comes out of the closet that he was never in to begin with, his change as a person is now complete and as such you want to stand and applaud the man. 


I enjoyed this farciful flick so much, that I may actually stop eating Freedom fries and start eating French fries again. 


DVD has some trailers and stuff but no deleted scenes or behind scenes goodness.


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