Synopsis by Mark Deming
While there are plenty of stories about gay men who have pretended to be straight for the sake of their careers, this tart comedy from France considers the dilemma of a straight man doing just the opposite. Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) is an accountant whose personality is bland to the point of being nonexistent; he's been down in the dumps ever since his wife left him two years ago, and he becomes even more depressed when he learns that his boss is planning on firing him after 20 years of loyal service. Francois is seriously considering suicide until his next-door neighbor Belone (Michel Aumont) comes up with a plan to save his career. Belone finds some photos snapped at an especially randy gay nightclub, and using his computer, he pastes Francois' face over that of one of the participants. He sends copies of the doctored picture to several of Francois' co-workers, and soon everyone at the office is convinced the quiet little man has a flamboyant secret life. The firm's CEO, Kopel (Jean Rochefort), now has second thoughts about firing Francois, since letting an employee go who is known to be gay could invite a sexual discrimination suit. Meanwhile, the firm's public relations man, Guillaume (Thierry Lhermitte), is dealing with Felix (Gérard Depardieu), an employee relations executive who is well known as a narrow-minded thug. In order to counter charges that he's a rampant homophobe, Guillaume instructs Felix to make friends with Francois, and soon Felix is spending so much time with Francois (while fighting his own internal revulsion) that his wife wonders if he's seeing another woman. Le Placard was writer and director Francis Veber's first film after his international hit Le Diner de Cons -- in which the leading character was also named Francois Pignon.
assumed-identity, homosexual, boss [employer], employment, prejudice, sexual-discrimination, homophobia