François Pignon (Auteuil) has hit the depths of dull despair. Not only do his estranged wife and teenage son find him too boring for words, but he's overheard that his colleagues plan to sack him from the condom factory where he works as an accountant, again on grounds of tediousness. Whereupon his solicitous older neighbour (Aumont) proposes a ruse: fake some evidence that he's a closeted gay rake, and watch the office rumour mill gear up to save his bacon. The real irony about Veber's starry farce is that none of the other characters is any more attractive or well rounded than Pignon himself. Intentionally, perhaps, yet these broad, brash archetypes seem the limits of Veber's ambition. A flip counterpart to Laurent Cantet's Time Out, the film also suggests the potential woe of a bourgeois lifestyle bound by work and family, only to make light play of the ensuing fantasy of self-reinvention. Veber's direction is no more than serviceable, but he's an adept enough farceur, and sufficient shenanigans spill out of this particular closet to provide amiable throwaway entertainment.
Cast and crew
Daniel Auteuil Gérard Depardieu Thierry Lhermitte Michèle Laroque Jean Rochefort Alexandra Vandernoot Stanislas Crevillén Michel Aumont