Sitcom (1998)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Domestic Comedy  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - Australia , France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Playing like a combination of Todd Solondz, John Waters, and a dysfunctional and incestuous generic television sitcom, director François Ozon's blacker than night psychological family comedy touches on many aspects that would frighten off most casual viewers on concept alone. From the opening scene of a father gunning down his family (albeit experienced audibly while the camera remains fixed on an external shot of the exceedingly proper and mundane suburban home) to mother/son sex, and even moments that border on bestiality, Sitcom gleefully and unapologetically attempts to dismantle the denial-prone status quo while constantly dwelling on self-conscious shock tactics and riffs on such nuclear family stereotypes as the indifferent father and the obsessively proper mother figure. And while Ozon's tactics hit the marks at times early on, as the film grows increasingly debaucherous it becomes more and more difficult to assess the method to the suburban nightmare madness the film portrays. By the time the surreal climax involving one of the human characters' literal transformation into the catalyst that set the opening scene's tragedy into motion rolls around, it feels uncharacteristically out of place and forced within the admittedly already absurd context of the previous 70 minutes. As repulsive as some of the more sordid details of the deteriorating family values may be, the majority of the film keeps the viewer involved and interested until the apparent lack of direction and outcome sends it careening out of control and spiraling into a nonsensical conclusion. Had Ozon anchored himself to reality, so to speak, he may have crafted a not altogether flawless, but effective comment on the banality of the sugar-coated denial that makes up the majority of television sitcoms and its disturbing transcendence into real life. As it stands however, the film is effective and entertaining for the most part, though its ambiguously confusing ending distills the jarring impact that this otherwise effective satire may have held.



bestiality, incest, mass-murder, metamorphosis, suburbs, taboo


High Artistic Quality