Though Francis Veber's comedies have frequently spawned American versions - some, like 1989's "Three Fugitives", directed by Veber himself - his farces have always worked best in their native tongue. That said, don't be surprised if Hollywood snaps up the rights to this exquisite comedy and churns out a neutered remake.
Set in a French condom factory, "The Closet" revolves around François Pignon (Auteuil), a humble accountant whose only crime is to be boring.
Deserted by his wife and ignored by his peers, it's hardly surprising when his boss (Rochefort) decides to sack him. But things change radically when his neighbour (Aumont) suggests he come out of the closet.
The fact François isn't gay doesn't enter into it; just circulating the rumour makes people sit up and take notice of this unassuming nonentity. Soon François is participating in Gay Pride parades, rebuffing advances from a homophobic workmate (Depardieu), and attracting the attentions of a pretty female colleague (Laroque). He may be the same man, but his life has never been more interesting...
Witty as it is, "The Closet" has serious points to make at the expense of political correctness, hypocrisy, and the lengths we go not to appear prejudiced. Witness Depardieu, who drives himself mad - literally - trying to mask his true feelings. The actor, who had a heart attack just before shooting started, has seldom been better.
But then everyone is on top form in a comedy of manners which proves, yet again, that France has the finest farceurs in the world.
In French with English subtitles.