Sitcom

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

French director Francois Ozon uses the familiar set-up of the conventional domestic sitcom for a very unconventional attack on bourgeois propriety, dispensing with any pretense of middle-class respectability and all notions of good taste. The introduction of a seemingly harmless pet rat into the sunny home of a French family precipitates disaster, as each...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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French director Francois Ozon uses the familiar set-up of the conventional domestic sitcom for a very unconventional attack on bourgeois propriety, dispensing with any pretense of middle-class respectability and all notions of good taste. The introduction of a

seemingly harmless pet rat into the sunny home of a French family precipitates disaster, as each person who touches it begins to act out his or her most secret — and often most depraved — fantasies. A few rat pats is all it takes for son Nicholas (Adrien de Van) to stand up and announce

his homosexuality during a polite dinner party, then take up with the housekeeper's bisexual husband Abdu (Julien-Emmanuel Eyoum Deido). Daughter Sophie (Marina de Van), a hard case with a taste for light S&M, is driven to throw herself from an upper-story window. The fall leaves her a suicidal,

wheelchair-bound dominatrix. Helene (Evelyne Dandry), the family's cheerful matriarch, decides the best way of curing Nicholas of his homosexuality is to sleep with him herself. Only Jean (Francois Martrhouret), the depressed father of the clan who only speaks in stale maxims, seems immune to the

furry interloper's influence. But then, he's also completely indifferent to the fact that his entire family is falling apart around him. Incest, homosexuality, leather harnesses and group sex: Ozon makes it all seem as dull as can be, and it's hard to believe this meandering and badly plotted

farce could have come from the same director who gave us the nerve-racking short SEE THE SEA. Ozon clearly relishes the idea of peeling back the layers of familial repression, exposing the festering hypocrisy within and letting the id run free. But he lacks the love of baroque melodrama and the

all-important sense of pathos that helped make Pedro Almodovar's similarly lurid soaps (like WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?) simultaneously engaging and genuinely subversive.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: French director Francois Ozon uses the familiar set-up of the conventional domestic sitcom for a very unconventional attack on bourgeois propriety, dispensing with any pretense of middle-class respectability and all notions of good taste. The introduction… (more)

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