Neil Young’s Film Lounge – The Closet
Le Placard : France 2001 : Francis Veber : 87 mins
Since every other French movie seems to feature either Gerard Depardieu or Daniel Auteuil (or, failing that, Vincent Cassel), its surprising the pair haven’t appeared on screen together since 1986s Jean de Florette, which ushered in the Stella Artois advert school of depressing-but-picturesque rural period-dramas. This time were in the modern-day farce mode which Veber has made his own and anyone who laughed themselves into un kink at his 1999 hit Le Diner de Cons will already be queuing up for more of the same.
Pignon (Auteuil) is an anonymous middle-manager of a provincial condom factory. His private life is a disaster zone, and when he overhears he’s about to be sacked, suicide seems a tempting option. But kindly neighbour Belone (Michel Aumont) intervenes, and comes up with a devious strategy. Belone was sacked from his job years ago because of his homosexuality but reckons times have moved on so much that if word gets around that Pignon is gay (which he isnt), there’s no way his bosses will give him the boot. Cue some sitcom-level shenanigans, mostly at the expense of Pignons bigoted, rugby-playing, alpha-male, office-bully colleague (Depardieu).
This isn’t a film whose ideas should be analysed too deeply Veber is much more interested in setting up the next gag than bothering to explore the pseudo-topical ideas he plays with, and his direction is strictly TV-flat. There are some decent jokes here and there, but around the halfway mark the script peters out to become increasingly sentimental, conventional and predictable, right up to a ridiculously sudden fin.
7th May 2002
(seen 26th February, Cineworld Milton Keynes)
For the original review click here
by Neil Young