The latest from farceur Francis Veber (The Dinner Game/Le dîner de cons), is a charming rib-tickler about a man who must pass himself off as a homosexual in order to hold on to his job, only to find he has succeeded too well. Daniel Auteuil, who began his film career in mainstream comedies before maturing into one of France’s finest character actors, gives a quietly winning performance as an accountant who learns that the management is going to make him redundant after 20 years of loyal service. A lonely divorcee snubbed by his selfish ex-wife (Alexandra Vandernoot) and teenage son, Auteuil is ready to throw himself out the window when he is saved by his new neighbour (Michel Aumont), who lost his job 20 years earlier because of his homosexuality. But times have changed and Aumont has the solution to Auteuil’s problems: spread the rumour around his firm that he is a homosexual so that his boss (Jean Rochefort) will back off from dismissing him out of fear of a sexual discrimination scandal. Aumont doctors Auteuil’s face into photos taken in a gay bar and sends it to the company anonymously. The fun begins.
Veber reserves his funniest satirical barbs for scenes concerning the company’s macho personnel manager (Gerard Depardieu). Led to believe he could lose his own job if he is not nice to Auteuil, the pea-brained executive goes hilariously overboard in his attempt to be big about his formerly despised colleague, showering him with lunch invitations and gifts. Though hardly a demanding role, it gives the increasingly beefy Depardieu a chance to show what a wonderfully deft comic actor he can be.oBenny Crick/Screen International. France, 2000. English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 85 min.