How to succeed in business
without really trying.
THE CLOSET: Written and directed by
Francis Veber. Produced by Alain Poiré. Production director, Philippe Desmoulins,
Henri Brichetti. Editor, Georges Klotz. Art direction, Hugues Tissander. Music, Vladimir
Cosma. Costumes Jacqueline Bouchard. Cinematographer, Yves Agostini. Starring Daniel
Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, Michel Aumont, Michèle Laroque, Thierry
Lhermitte and Jean Rochefort. Miramax Zoë, 2001. R. 86 minutes.
Say "French sex farce" and you immediately think of La
Cage aux Folles or its American re-make, The Birdcage. Broad humor that
explores homophobia and hypocrisy are part of The Closet's appeal, but so
are affecting performances by Daniel Auteuil (The Widow of St. Pierre, The
Girl on the Bridge), Gérard Depardieu and Michel Aumont. The film's focus
is not gays as such but rather the politically correct stance taken by closet bigots
(Daniel Auteuil) and Mlle. Bertrand (Michele Laroque), surprised by someone at the
Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) likes his work at the rubber factory;
he's been there nearly 20 years. So he's surprised one morning when he overhears
a swaggering bully named Félix Santini (Gérard Depardieu) a problematic
co-worker who broke Pignon's collarbone in a rugby game gleefully tell another man
that the quiet, dull accountant is getting fired.
Dejected, Pignon calls his ex-wife and teenaged son, but neither
will answer the phone. They actually think he's pretty square, too. When Pignon arrives
home, a new neighbor, Belone (Michel Aumont), encourages him to take part in a goofy
plan: Send pictures of Pignon as a gay man to the office, then watch what happens.
When Pignon arrives the following day, everyone from the director
of the company, Kopel (Jean Rochefort), to Pignon's accounting department boss, Mlle.
Bertrand (Michèle Laroque), has seen the manipulated photos of him at a gay
bar. Thanks to the ever-grinding rumor mill, Pignon suddenly becomes a valuable employee
who's not being fired after all. (Pignon doesn't know his reprieve is because company
officials don't want to upset their gay condom customers.) But when Santini starts
speaking to him and being nice to him, Pignon wonders exactly what's going on.
Eventually, of course, all the characters are drawn into the charade
his former wife, his son, his boss, several other employees, the bully and his
wife and everybody has a stake in Pignon's gayness except himself. It's a clever
little tale, light and funny, with only occasional lapses into superfluous subplots.
But as farce, it isn't subtle. Take for instance the Gay Pride Parade the company
insists Pignon must take part in wearing condom-like headgear, or the hilarious practice
sessions of the rugby team, with all its relentless, unconscious verbiage about asses,
butts, buns, bums ... you get the drift.
Writer/director Francis Veber's 1997 dark comedy, The Dinner
Game, covers a similar unmasking of the ulterior motives of a group of well-to-do
men who each bring to dinner an eccentric they've picked up. The man who brings the
most idiotic specimen wins. Of course, the plot backfires. Here, what each character
really thinks about Pignon is expressed as well as how each now begins to relate
differently to him. The payoff is Pignon's decency and sense of fairplay, which makes
him a hero.
A slight, sardonic look beneath corporate veneer, the picture's
broad strokes of farce give it an uneven but enjoyable texture. The Closet
opens Friday, September 21. Entertaining.
Films open the Friday following date of EW publication unless
America's Sweethearts: Directed by Joe Roth as a spoof on Hollywood's
publicity industry, a famous Hollywood couple played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and
John Cusack) try to fool movie critics on a junket that they're still together. Also
stars Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal. PG-13 Cinemark.
Animal: Wimp Marvin (Rob Schneider) becomes a super cop
after surgery following an accident leaves him with animal organs. Now, his instincts
are taking over, and it isn't a nice picture. Luke Greenfield makes his directorial
debut; also stars Coleen Haskell. PG-13. Cinemark.
Bubble Boy, The: Comedy about immune deficient boy who falls
in love with the girl next door who builds a mobile bubble suit to pursue her. Directed
by Blair Hayes, film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Swoozie Kurtz, Marley Shelton. PG-13.
Cats and Dogs: An inside look at pet wars at home while
grown up people are at work. Kitty (Sean Hayes, voice) has grandiose plans other
critters want to stop. Live-action comedy directed by Larry Guterman also features
animatronic, computer-generated action. PG. Movies 12.
Closet, The: Francis Veber's French sex farce offers light
entertainment for these times, but it's especially enjoyable because of lucid and
inventive performances by Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu and Michel Aumont.
A comic examination of the politically correct stance taken by corporate bigots towards
gays. R. Bijou. See review.
Hearts in Atlantis: Anthony Hopkins and Hope Davis star
in Scott Hicks' late-1950s adventure drama. Written by William Goldman, based on
Stephen King's novel. PG-13. Sneak 9/21 and 9/22. Cinemark.
Scary Movie 2: The Wayans brothers' sequel to last year's
genre spoof, with Keenan Ivory Wayans directing brothers Marlon and Shawn (who also
wrote the script). The bros, trapped inside a haunted house, enlist the help of James
Woods, exorcist. R. Movies 12.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Steven Spielberg directs
this film, a project of the late Stanley Kubrick, that's set in a future filled with
environmental catastrophes. Haley Joel Osment plays an 11-year old android aware
of his own existence who wants to become a boy; Jude Law plays a sex toy android.
Also, Frances O'Connor and William Hurt. Imperfect gotta-see movie for newcomers
and second-timers. PG-13. Movies 12. See review.
American Pie 2: Same cast Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Mena
Suvari, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas but a different director, J. B. Rogers,
and a super-secretive writer, Adam Herz. R. Cinema World. Cinemark.
Bridget Jones' Diary: Renée Zellwegger plays the
neurotic but witty Londoner on the prowl for a man. Hugh Grant's her boss, and Colin
Firth is an old friend. All three give excellent performances, especially Zellwegger.
Sharon Maguire's directorial debut. Script by Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard
Curtis. Funnier on second viewing, this smart, good-hearted romp is highly recommended.
R. Movies 12.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin: WWII-era romance stars Nic Cage
as an Italian soldier and Penelope Cruz; it's set on a gorgeous Greek island. Trailer
shows zero chemistry between stars. Unhappily, John Madden (Shakespeare in Love)
directs. Also stars John Hurt, Christian Bale, Irene Papas and David Morrissey. R.
Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The: Woody Allen's 1940s comedy
stars Allen, Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth Berkeley, Wallace Shawn, David Ogden
Stiers and Charlize Theron. Allen's a NY insurance investigator who gets involved
in a crime caper. PG-13. Cinema World.
Deep End, The: Scott McGehee and David Siegel's excellent
thriller stars the fabulous Tilda Swinton as a resourceful suburban housewife. Jonathan
Tucker plays her gay son, whom she's trying to protect, and Goran Visnjic is a blackmailer
who falls for her. Highest recommendations. R. Bijou. See review.
Dr. Dolittle 2: Eddie Murphy is back as the good doctor,
but the animals have changed. They've become activists who plan to go on strike to
save their forest in Steve Carr's new film. And they're hungry for sex advice. PG.
Fast and Furious, The: Undercover cop (Paul Walker) infiltrates
gang-like LA street racing teams in Rob Cohen's action-adventure that also stars
Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight). PG-13. Movies 12.
Glass House, The: Psychological nightmare stars Leelee Sobieski
as an orphaned girl (and her brother) taken in by her parents' best friends(Diane
Lane and Stellan Skarsgard. PG-13. Cinemark.
Hardball: Keanu Reeves plays a soft-spoken baseball coach
for an inner city middle school who helps the team come together. PG-13. Cinemark.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: Director Kevin Smith in
his screen persona, Silent Bob, co-stars with Jason Mewes as Jay in this insider
comedy. Someone is making a movie about their lives, and they want money for it.
R. Cinema World. Cinemark. See review.
Jeepers Creepers: Summer shock schlock designed to scare
the pants off teens and other adolescents, despite its rating. Written and directed
by Victor Salva, supernatural thriller stars Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan
Breck. R. Cinemark.
Jurassic Park 3: Sam Neill reprises his role as paleontologist
Grant. Joe Johnston directs. Grant takes a rich adventurer (William H. Macy) and
his wife (Téa Leoni) for a fly-by of the forbidden island. Lots of dinosaurs!
PG-13. Movies 12.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Angelina Jolie plays the video
game action heroine, and Simon West directs. Also stars Jon Voight and Iain Glen.
PG-13. Movies 12.
Legally Blonde: Reese Witherspoon plays a LA natural blonde
who goes to Harvard Law School to persuade Warner (Matthew Davis) that she's the
one for him. Directed by Robert Luketic. Also stars Selma Blair, Victor Garber, Holland
Taylor, Jennifer Coolidge and Luke Wilson. PG-13. Movies 12. See review.
Musketeer, The: Action adventure based on Alexandre Dumas
classic is directed by Peter Hyams stars Catherine Deneuve, Mena Suvari, Stephen
Rhea, Tim Roth and Justin Chambers. Xin Xin Xiong, choreographer of Once Upon
a Time in China, orchestrates fight sequences. PG-13. Cinemark. Cinema World.
O Othello: One of summer's most anticipated films is Tim
Blake's contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's famous tale of treachery and jealousy.
Set in elite Southern boarding school, film stars Mekhi Phifer as the only black
student and athelete on campus, Josh Hartnett as his best friend and Julia Stiles
as his girlfriend. Also, Martin Sheen, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix and Elden Hensen.
R. Cinemark. See
Osmosis Jones: Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly with
others, this live action/animated comedy goes inside the body to the sites of the
most yucky sites. Stars Bill Murray, Molly Shannon and the voices of Chris Rock,
David Hyde Pierce and Laurence Fishburne. PG. Movies 12.
Others, The: A haunted Victorian mansion, a rigid and icy
mother (Nicole Kidman) and two special kids who see things makes this one of the
scariest movies made, critics say. Directed by Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar
with style, it's very highly recommended. PG-13. Cinemark. Cinema World.
Planet of the Apes: Re-imagining of the 1968 original by
filmmaker Tim Burton has great makeup and quicker-witted, stronger apes who act more
like real ones. Tim Roth walks away with the show as the menacing chimpanzee who
wants to kill all humans. Stars Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke
Duncan, Paul Giamatti and Tim Roth. PG-13. Cinemark. See review.
Princess Diaries, The: Directed by Garry Marshall, this
comedy about a S.F. teen who finds out she's a princess stars Anne Hathaway, Hector
Elizondo, Julie Andrews, Robert Schwartzman and Heather Matarazzo. G. Cinemark.
Rat Race: Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. and other desperate
folks make fools of themselves looking for a $2 million jackpot hidden somewhere
in New Mexico. Directed by Jerry Zucker of Airplane! fame. PG-13. Cinemark.
Rock Star: Mark Wahlberg is the ultimate fan of a heavy
metal rock legend, but he also plays with a local tribute band until the night he's
called to replace the lead singer he worships. Jennifer Aniston is his hometown girlfriend.
Stephen Herek directs John Stockwell's script, based on a true story. Also stars
Jason Flemyng, Timothy Olyphant, Timothy Spall and Dominic West. R. Cinemark.
Rush Hour 2: Brett Ratner returns to direct Jackie Chan
and Chris Tucker as detectives who travel to Hong Kong, LA and Vegas looking for
a master criminal. Also stars Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, The Road Home).
Score, The: This Frank Oz action movie stars Robert De Niro
as a career criminal who breaks his own rule to take an unknown (Edward Norton) as
partner on a heist. Also stars Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett. Great acting. R. Cinema
Shrek: Computer-animated fairy tale (by DreamWorks' Pacific
Data Images, makers of Antz) stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz
and John Lithgow. Entertaining and funny for kids and grown-ups. PG. Movies 12. See
Spy Kids: Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi) directs this youth-oriented
tale about superspies (Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino) who leave the life to marry
and have a family. When they're kidnapped, only their kids can save them. PG. Movies
Two Can Play That Game: Shanté (Viveca A. Fox) gets
even when her sweetie (Morris Chestnut) sees another woman (Gabrielle Union), and
she gets a lot of help from her friends. R. Cinemark.
Use the links provided below for specific show times.
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
Cinema World 342-6536 | Valley River
Springfield Quad 726-9073 |
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway
Movies before 12:30 are Sat. Sun. only. $1.50 all shows all days.
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Releases subject to change. Available the Tuesday following date of
EW publication, sometimes sooner:
Along Came a Spider: Morgan Freeman stars as Detective Alex Cross in the prequel
to Kiss the Girls, this time with Monica Potter as his partner. Directed by
Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors), thriller also stars Dylan Baker and Michael
Citizen Kane (1941): Special Edition DVD two-disc set contains
"The Battle Over Citizen Kane" documentary. Beautifully restored, this
b&w masterpiece contains great deep-focus cinematography. Directed by Orson Welles,
this great American film stars Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead and Everett
Forsaken: Vampire flick stars Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr.
Directed by J.S. Cardone. The New York Times notes that if it had exercised
restraint, flick could have been much scarier. "But like most movies of its
ilk, it trots out its full arsenal of shock tactics far too early in the game and
squanders the suspense it has accumulated." R.
Heartbreakers: Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt
play mother/daughter con artists who have perfected their scam but are not entirely
without feeling. Ray Liotta and Gene Hackman are marked men. David Mirkin directs.
Knight's Tale, A: Aimed at 12-year-olds but enjoyable to
adults as well, this medieval adventure fantasy stars Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon,
Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell. Directed by Brian Helgeland, co-writer of L.A. Confidential.
One Night at McCool's: Crime/sex comedy stars Matt Dillon,
Paul Reiser, John Goodman and Liv Tyler playing one-note characters. She's trouble.
As Dillon's character notes, all the sex and violence in one night is a bit much.
Directed by Harald Zwart. R. See review.
Next week: The Mummy Returns.
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