La cage aux folles

87 minutes

A French variation on Charley's Aunt, with the gay subtext restored and exploited (1979). Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault are a happily settled couple, forced to pass as straight when Tognazzi's son brings home his prospective in-laws. The bric-a-brac goes back in the closet, and Serrault, a professional female impersonator, stands in for the absent mother. It's funny in a coarse, obvious way, and it probably would have been a laugh riot had director Edouard Molinaro possessed even an elementary sense of timing. Still, it's not very honorable: this is one of those sitcoms, like The Jeffersons, that “explain” a minority to middle-class audiences by making their members cute, cuddly, and harmlessly eccentric. In French with subtitles.

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