July 16, 2001 12:00 PM

Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu

Auteuil, accountant for a condom manufacturer, is about to be passed over for promotion and eased out of his job. He is bland and colorless, and no one is sad to see him go. To save his career, he doctors a photo of two patrons of a gay club—pasting his own head on a guy with his derriere exposed—and sends it anonymously to the company. The trick works: Auteuil has not changed one jot, but perceptions have. When he enters his office with his face shyly turned away (he looks like a pigeon expecting to be shooed from a ledge), a colleague interprets the glance as sly. Overnight, he’s exotic.

This little farce—shiny, tidy and trite—would be completely disposable if it weren’t for Depardieu. He plays a macho personnel manager who has a breakdown when he tries to “sensitize” himself toward the new Auteuil. It’s as if a mountain of rock were to sink down into a valley of trees and flowers, so complete is his transformation. (R)

Bottom Line: Open-and-shut trifle

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