"The Closet," ("Le Placard," 2001) a French comedy/drama, was written and directed by Francis Veber, and stars Daniel Auteuil (The Valet [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]), so skilled at playing a beleaguered everyman, as Francois Pignon, a man who discovers he is to be fired at his job. His ex-wife and son want nothing to do with him, just keep the checks coming please, and he's so colorless, he's already the invisible man at work. But, with the aid of his neighbor Belone, played by the veteran French actor Michel Aumont (Cat and Mouse ( Chat et la souris, Le ) [DVD]), Pignon cooks up the tale that he is homosexual, thereby preventing his employers from discharging him, due to anti-discrimination legislation. Felix Santini, a macho coworker who harasses Pignon until he begins to worry about his own job safety, is played by the wonderful Gerard Depardieu (Green Card [DVD] ). The bemused boss of the company, Kopel, is played by another French veteran, Jean Rochefort. (The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe Collection [DVD]). And there's a featured performance from a darling little gray kitten. The movie is set in modern-day Paris, but largely in its suburbs and office parks, which we don't really get to see very often over here. People live in apartment blocks, and drive cars; office parks have parking lots. It's nicely filmed, and gives us an interesting world. Plus, it's warm, charming, and funny, though extremely light, and funniest the first time around. But it's utterly conventional at heart. There's no doubt that, somewhat disappointingly, it actually puts credence in the sexual stereotypes it's been kidding: but, hey, it's a comedy, and a funny one.
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