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Extremely grotesque and black humored story.
ARRI535BL23 August 2002
This film is Francois Ozon's debut, which made him one of the most promising young directors of Europe. Here we have a story, which can be treated as taken as modern 'The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' by Luis Bunuel. Here a typical French family alters in the most disturbing way. The whole madness starts when father brings home a lab rat. Next the son at the dinner stands and declaims that since that moment he is a gay. Then his sister jumps out of the window trying to commit a suicide...And so on. And the story keeps going till the unusual end, which contains one of the most bizarre sequences in modern European cinema. Acting is at very high level, and so is the directing. Dialogs are pretty witty and memorable. It is difficult to name a genre of this movie, but the closest is - black comedy.
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More macabre would be perverse!
DJ Inferno3 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
"Sitcom" tells the story about a petty bourgeois French family who leads a surface normal life. One day father brings white rat from a research institute to his home and from this day things changes radical, because everyone who has physical contact with this animal becomes totally freaked out..! The son outs himself as a homo, the daughter does S&M-practices and becomes endangered for suicide, the mother starts having a sex affair with her own son...

You have to see this great satire with your own eyes to believe it when human soulish depths turn up! Cynical, provoking and grotesque - more words are not needed to describe it!! A great farce!!!
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In a word: brilliant
The_Void16 March 2005
François Ozon's pitch black mickey take is a biting satire on family life and a brash distraction from the shows of it's title. While many sitcom's are monotonous affairs, Ozon's take on the medium is anything but. Despite taking in many of the clichés of the sitcom - stuffy mother, raunchy maid, bored father etc - Sitcom manages to be continually inventive and the way that it exposes the clichés of the genre is both ludicrously ridiculous and harshly disturbing. The French director proves with this movie that he's not afraid to overstep several boundaries and make a film that dares to be different, and for that reason this film will never be universally liked. However, if you can connect with Ozon's vision, you're in for a treat and that was the situation I found myself in! The story follows a father who, after bringing his family a lab-rat for a present, finds his family collapsing around him - his son discovers he's gay, his daughter jumps out of the window and his wife...well, I'll leave you to find that out on your own.

Sitcom is a singularly unpleasant experience. Watching family life deteriorate is a much more gruelling affair than you might imagine, and even though the family and the situation that Ozon has presented are utterly ridiculous; he still manages to inject life into it, which ensures that it hammers home the point that the auteur intended. Whenever I see a film that dares to be different and deliver something that I haven't seen before, I tend to find myself heaping the praise on it and that is certainly the case with this film. You will not find a comedy with a more rotten core than this one and similarly you will not find one that dares to present the utterly ridiculous happenings that this movie thrives on. I don't know how Ozon thought he could get away with some of the things in this film - not just the taboo's he's portrayed, but other things too, some of which are just too stupid to comprehend – but Ozon makes them work! Sitcom is a movie that needs to be experienced, and it's a film that will divide opinions as much as any other movie ever made. And if only for that reason - see this film as soon as possible.
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The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie?
Infofreak9 March 2002
An original and inventive black comedy about a bourgeois family thrown into utter chaos, mostly sexual, after the father brings home a lab rat as a pet. Very twisted and bizarre, with many unexpected plot twists, this movie holds the attention to the very end. Ozon gives nods to Bunuel and John Waters without directly copying either. 'Sitcom' will appeal to fans of either of those directors, or to anyone who likes offbeat movies. Highly recommended!
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The white rat
jotix10022 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
We are taken to meet a perfect family in a suburb of Paris. The old house has been remodeled in perfect taste. The people that live in this house are bourgeois to the core. They have superb manners. But is everything as perfect as it seems?

Francois Ozon, one of the most interesting men working in the French cinema, seems to believe he can show us a different aspect that is not seen on the glossy picture we see.

After the father brings home a lab rat, it becomes everyone's pet. The son one day declares at the dinner table he is gay, to her mother's dismay. The father accepts the fact with philosophy. After all, he muses, weren't men in ancient Greece practitioners of this sexual preference? After all, they were well adjusted and no one batted an eyelash. The daughter, who is having intimate relations with her boyfriend, decides to jump out of a window and become paraplegic. The mother, decides one evening to show her son how things are done in the heterosexual world.

The father is given an ultimatum: Get rid of the rat, or else. His way of dealing with the little creature is to practice all his gourmet knowledge on the pet with surprising results. The family, as a whole decides to deal with the monster the father created in a cruel way, but by doing so, peace and tranquility returns to the household again.

Mr. Ozon asks us to see the family in a different way. After all, how many families do we know that are picture perfect? Or at least, akin to the image the ubiquitous 'sitcoms' on television wants to impose on us. The director shows why he is one of the best minds working in movies these days.

We particularly enjoyed the work of Evelyne Dandry, who plays the mother in the story with great panache. She is the model of BCBG. She will never be seen without a perfect wardrobe, or a hair out of place. The other great contribution is from Lucia Sanchez, who appears as the maid. She undergoes a transformation, beginning as a normal person, then takes a new persona as she is given the responsibility of taking care of Sophie, the paraplegic. Marina DeVan and Adrien DeVan are seen as the daughter, and son of this messed up household. Francois Marthouret underplays the father role.

The last scene in the film shows the family at a cemetery as the white lab rat plays atop the black marble tomb. A fit closure for this delightful film.
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Cool Flick....
Blou30 September 2000
I stumbled onto this movie late one night on SBS (Australia's foreign movie channel specialist) and I thought it was going to be another perverted French film. Well, I was right, but I actually enjoyed this exaggerated look into family dysfunction. It all begins with the father of the family bringing home a pet rat, to which his wife reacts to in disgust. His son, Nicolas and daughter, Sophie, are rather indifferent to the creature. That night at dinner, the nerdy son announces his homosexuality and then in the privacy of his bedroom, has it on with the maids husband, Abdu. The daughter soon jumps out of a window to become a paraplegic and indulges in sadomachoism and bondage with her boyfriend. The mother indulges in a bit of incestuous sex with her son. Dysfunction with a capital D! And just when you thought the father hadn't been affected by the arrival of the rat... well, I won't spoil the ending but I know you'll either be pleasantly surprised of pleasantly disgusted. This movie is superb. It has a great cast, and even though it is a tan unbelievable, it is thoroughly entertaining! ***1/2/*****
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First rate farce
God-1228 January 1999
I am afraid that the first reviewer misses the point completely. This is a very, very funny film in the grand old tradition of farce. It isn't supposed to be 'realistic', it is supposed to be, and is amusing. The acting isn't brilliant, but, again, in farce, that is part of the fun. It certainly cheered me up considerably.
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break up the family
dbdumonteil18 July 2006
Before his first real feature-length film, François Ozon produced an impressive chain of short films during his cinema student years and beyond. In 1997, the medium-length film "Regarde La Mer" made many film lovers put hopes in this voracious filmmaker. When he was a cinema student, one of his professors kept on repeating him: "Go on! Make movies. Believe in what you're making!". This leitmotiv remained stuck on his mind since Ozon makes at least one movie a year. Passion has no limits. But now back in 1998 about "Sitcom", a cannonball in the calm landscape of French cinema which was written in a fortnight and shot in one month, this quirky offering was disowned by a good part of the French press specialized in cinema and it's easy to see why. It was too much for them to give thumbs up to this special piece of work which already showcases the Ozon style.

This first offering already lets see his influences, his cinematographic, cinema-going tastes. It spans Claude Chabrol for the bourgeois milieu, Luis Bunuel for the will to shatter this milieu through unexpected means and some dreamlike sequences. Furthermore, the beginning of the film with the arrival of the Spanish maid in the desirable mansion echoes to the scene with the arrival of the bishop hired as a gardener to the Sénéchals in "Le Charme Discret De La Bourgeoisie" (1972) or even the arrival of Jeanne Moreau to the Monteils in "Le Journal D'Une Femme De Chambre" (1964) and Ozon clouds the issues with some indications such as "a few months sooner" or "a few months later" like in "Un Chien Andalou" (1928) or "l'Age D'or" (1930) and give the whole an unreal side. Then, like the "king of bad taste and extravagance" (you probably guessed his name) author of "Serial Mom" (1994), Ozon has a liking for trash humor and shocking.

"Sitcom" also presents the seeds of what will be developed later in Ozon's subsequent films, notably the sublime "8 Femmes" (2002) or "Swimming Pool" (2003): a will to enclose his characters in an isolated space to shatter them and to lay bare what's going on in their tormented minds. Also a freewheeling look on sexuality and the inclusion of the grotesque and the admirable.

Here, Ozon takes the corny clichés of the sitcom and explodes them through defaced scenery, ugly cinematography and characters who are devoid of interest and are only puppets. The father who only expresses himself through proverbs and can't see for a long time the disorder which reigns in the house. The mother a little uptight who struggled hard to keep order and harmony. The son, serious at the outset who discovers his homosexuality and gradually becomes outgoing. The daughter, an artist who seems marooned in her education and her life. Possible exit: suicide. An universe which goes awry because of a white rat which sets the depths of the unconscious free.

If one accepts without ulterior reasons, the preposterous staple idea I have just mentioned, "Sitcom" is much fun to watch. The topic could also have given birth to a satire of the bourgeois milieu but it rather takes a back seat. Instead, Ozon prefers to unleash his perverse frenzy of a sadistic child. He apes the nasty piece of work through a series of sequences, perhaps a little loosely linked up and dovetailed but they are virtually all funny and peppered with perennial, nagging black humor and powerful lines. Ozon will keep to the tail end these features and this assumed schoolboy tone. Different sexual moments may give the film a catalog side but they are virtually all filmed with a certain reserve.

The actors all match with their respective roles. One will notice the presence of Marina De Van who before had already worked with Ozon (see "Regarde La Mer") and will after. By the way, her gruesome film "Dans Ma Peau" (2002) isn't suitable for the general public. Anyway, Evelyne Dandry's acting has strong resonances with Hélène Vincent's in Etienne Chatiliez' debut and best film "la Vie Est Un long Fleuve Tranquille" (1988) and François Marthouret's solemn cues could be worth alone the price of admission.

"Sitcom" is a dirty, unreal treat brimming with naughtiness. Ozon's trademark is already palpable in his debut film which, however isn't for all tastes. Make up your mind if you find it repulsive or hilarious.
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Black farce version of Pasolini's "Theorem"
meitschi24 September 2003
I love Francois Ozon's films. Together with this, I have seen all his feature-length work (Sitcom, Criminal Lovers, Drops Falling On Burning Rocks, Under the Sand, 8 Women, Swimming Pool). "Sitcom" is the film by him that I found the most bizarre and unsettling (even though I had some good laughs). The ending was a bit too much, but otherwise, I quite liked it. The atmosphere and the bizarre events sometimes reminded me of "Criminal Lovers", that he made immediately afterwards, but with more focus on black humor than in the latter.

The whole way through, the story of "Sitcom" reminded me of Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Theorem" (Teorema) - much more than of Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", already mentioned here. In Pasolini's 1968 film, a strange visitor unsettles the life of an Italian bourgeois family: after he leaves, the daughter loses her mind, starts lying catatonicly on her bed and has to be transferred to a mental institution; the mother, in a desperate urge for promiscuity, picks up handsome young men on the streets for sex; the maid goes back to her village and becomes a levitating saint; the son discovers his talent for painting (and probably realizes that he is gay); the father at first seems not to be affected, but then he also succumbs to the influence.

Ozon's film seems to take up this motif and transfer it to a very-very black farce and a parody of American sitcoms (I love the set design with all those bright colors!). People here (especially the mother) always try to "talk things out" like in the sitcoms, but it doesn't really work, because the environment is/has become so different.

At the very end, though, everyone seems to have found themselves at last: from a dysfunctional family, they have apparently become a happy family again - though not exactly in the traditional, conservative way. But the white rat is still lurking everywhere...
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french rat story
turner-68 July 1999
This film is, above all else, a farce. As a farce it works very well and is, in many parts, extremely funny. A regular in Ozon's films, Lucia Sanchez, is excellent as the Spanish maid, and the mother is played to utter perfection by Evelyn Dandry. She is able to portray the utter frustration of any woman with teenage children. Ozon doesn't really cut new ground with this film, with its theme of the disruption of French bourgeois family life, but I don't think that he intends to. The film is funny on its own terms. The notion of Ozon being 'naughty' shines through. Of course, the utter beauty of Stephane Rideau makes the whole thing worthwhile by itself.
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chartcore4 March 2002
I just saw this French movie on my local ethnic station & loved it! Although this movie isn't for the usual consumer of comedy, it spirals around many weird & taboo issues such as: Incest, Homosexuality, Depravity & Sadomasochism. Around all this is "the mother" who is naively caught up in her everyday routines to find the secrets her friends & family hold. I recommend this movie for 2 reasons: It's French & it's different.
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Good clean family fun, from Francois Ozon.
ThreeSadTigers29 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Before seeing Sitcom, the only Francois Ozon films that I had any experienced of were the musical farce 8 Women and his Fassbinder adaptation Water Drops on Burning Rocks. Both of these films were interesting, but completely different, both in terms of style and content. It is through this particular film - his debut of sorts - that we can find a link between these two rather disparate projects and can also, better understand the various themes and motifs that have reappeared in subsequent Ozon works, like Criminal Lovers, Under the Sand, 5x2 and Swimming Pool.

This film effortlessly establishes Ozon's strengths as an "ensemble" director, as he introduces the idea of bourgeois characters bound together in a claustrophobic location (a familiar idea that will be repeated in 8 Women and Water Drops...) whilst all manner of catastrophe, farce and inter-family relationships are explored and exposed with a cynical (...and, to some extent, satirical) glee. I suppose in some respects, this film is similar to Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (though there are also allusions made to other Buñuel projects, like Belle de Jour and The Obscure Object of Desire), with added nods to filmmakers like John Waters and Michael Haneke (albeit, a less po-faced rendition of Haneke's key-themes) thrown in for good measure.

The film is darkly comic, deranged and completely absurd in the best possible way... the plot focusing on a polite, conservative French family, who each succumb to their own sexual perversions after dad brings home a pet rat (yes, you read that correctly!!). Moments after the little fella has been transported into his new home, the son announces he's a homosexual (and then, seconds later, retires to the bedroom with the maid's athletic husband), the daughter throws herself out of the window and ends up a paraplegic (...she later takes to putting out cigarettes on her bare arms and whipping her boyfriend during kinky S&M), while later in the film, mum turns to incest in an attempt to "turn" her wayward son whilst dad tries to disregard the whole thing as "just a phase". The whole film is completely outrageous and very funny, with Ozon keeping the viewer's attention through the use of brisk editing, colourful composition and some completely extreme sight gags (the sun's metamorphosis from bespectacled nerd into an outré gay-icon, the disabled daughter dragging herself up the stairs with a knife between her teeth, like one of Tod Browning's Freaks and, my personal favourite, mum walking in on one of her son's gay-orgies, only to find a group of leather-clad muscle men playing a polite game of cards).

Ultimately, the film is very frivolous and doesn't really carry much weight as a successful social satire, but it's wholly enjoyable (if you're in the mood for it) and most certainly will leave an impression on anyone who watches it. The performances are strong throughout, and it would be wrong to pick favourites from such a tight ensemble, whilst Ozon's unpretentious direction has a confidence and self-absurdness about it (though it obviously lacks the polish of later efforts like 8 Women and Swimming Pool). I personally felt that the film fell apart a bit towards the end (much like a lot of Buñuel's work too), with Ozon seemingly attempting to riff on Kafka's The Metamorphosis, whilst still trying to retain that sniping sense of social satire (the scenes between the mother and her physiatrist gave a good back-bone to the narrative, and also brought to mind similar scenes in that other darkly-comic classic, Harold and Maude)... it doesn't really work, and is a bit of disappointment, especially after that amazing and literally jaw-dropping opening, and the subsequent madness that occurs in-between.

Like the aforementioned Discreet Charm..., Sitcom is a film obsessed with false endings and double pay-offs (there are at least four possible endings for the film, including the one that opens the film, and, the more disappointing one that actually does end the film), though despite the disappointment connected to the eventual dénouement, I would still recommend this film as one of the standouts of the last decade. Sitcom is a blistering and enjoyable dark-comedy farce, acting as a lighter, more comedic take on the new European extreme of filmmakers like Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves, The Idiots) and Gaspar Noe (I Stand Alone, Irreversible).
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A criticism of the bourgeois
jmurphy-1117 October 2005
"Sitcom," above all, requires a large grain of salt: it is visually shocking and provocative, and American audiences in particular often dismiss it as a "vulgar" film on these grounds. The plot, however, contains an allegorical richness that is rarely attained in most modern films. It is a theater of the absurd, and must be understood as such in order to comprehend the complexity of meanings and social commentaries it has to offer.

For starters, it is a criticism on the most basic level of the social alienated embodied by bourgeois social standards in France. One of the most accessible aspects of this commentary is the unwillingness of the characters to genuinely communicate to one another. While this makes several scenes totally hilarious, at the same time it micro-cosmically calls into question the validity of a "coherent" unit to address its internal problems; this is, obviously, an allegorical reference to France as a nation. The nation--like this bizarrely self-contained familial unit--is unable to progress and modernize in accordance with modern needs because of a lack of communication. The abstract issues of race, homosexuality, insanity, and even modern psychiatry are called into question. The modern cannot be a museumization of the past, despite whatever aesthetic benefits such staticness might offer.

It would be a good idea before viewing this film to read Freud's "Totem and Taboo." Despite the fact that no scholarly connections between the film and this work in particular have been made, it provides at least some provocative insight into the plot. I would also suggest against making a viewing of this film a family event; it would be most appropriate among those of an older age group, and is a particularly provocative piece of French film.
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Incest, masochism and rats...
Carrot-423 December 1998
This is the story of a normal little French family. One day, daddy comes back home with a rat. This rat will change the life of everyone in the family. Son will become gay, daughter will try to suicide and become a sadomasochism adept etc. This movie is really sick in a way but it is innovative and really funny. It is really tough to appreciate this kind of movie if you have only seen Hollywood films, but once you give it a try you discover a whole new kind of art. All I have to say is: Expend your mind dude!
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Dark comedy
MarioB23 August 1999
I think all the others viewers notes tells us about the story and the feelings that this movie gives to us. I sure like it! This movie takes risk, and that's the kind of stuff I love about movies. The best of the genre always comes from Europe, never in Hollywood. Sitcom should be to the 1990's what Hitchcock's What about Harry was in the 1950's. See this strange little piece of good cinema!
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A sick and twisted dark comedy of uneasy laughter!
NateManD5 August 2005
Years before the erotic thriller "Swimming Pool", director Francois Ozon directed the the morbid dark comedy gem "Sitcom". If you're a fan of Almadover, Bunuel, John Waters or even Peter Greenaway; you'll probably find this film hilarious. I did! In "Sitcom", a father brings home a pet rat. Little does he know about how the pet rat will effect his family. The rat has a power that unleashes the families innermost desires. The son tells the family he's gay at dinnertime. He seduces the maids boyfriend and later has orgies in his room. The sister jumps out the window and becomes a wheel chair bound paraplegic into kinky S&M. She is cruel to her boyfriend and makes him where leather. She says "What, I don't turn you on anymore?". That scene is so sick, but so funny. Then on top of that she tries to seduce her own father. In an attempt to turn her son straight, the mother seduces the son. Although this is so dark and twisted, the film is downright hilarious. I mean, it's over the top satirical lunacy! Some aspects of the story are confusing, so you may want to watch it twice.
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A surreal, perverse & wacky look at a troubled family
Afracious9 August 2000
This is an odd film about a father who brings a pet rat home to his family, which then sparks off their innermost sexual desires. The son announces he's gay, and ends up with a maid's boyfriend; the daughter jumps out of the window and is paralysed, and then gets her boyfriend to hurt her while she puts cigarettes out on her arm. The wife starts to sleep with the gay son. The daughter asks her father to have sex with her, but he declines, saying she's ugly. The ending is really surreal. Wacky, satirical, perverse & crazy. See it if you can.
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"The Rat's Been Giving Us Bad Vibes"
mattfloyd-4100925 August 2018
Francois Ozon apparently watched Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema (1968), in which Terrence Stamp mysteriously seduces all the members of a family household. He thought that the idea was great, but it would be improved if the intruder was a pet rat, and that he seduces the entire family into doing perverted/shocking acts. Ozon was right on his assumption when he updated Teorema's plot to shock traditional French values with his feature film debut, Sitcom.

The film follows an typical bourgeoisie French family whose lives dramatically change when they adopt a pet rat. The son transforms from a reserved bookworm into an outspoken/sexually-liberated homosexual whilst the seemingly-normal daughter becomes obsessed with death and sadomasochism. Soon, the rat's influence extends to the other family members, including to the bewildered parents. I dare not say how the matriarch changes as I want that to be a surprise. This surrealistically leads up to a climax that would make Franz Kafka giggle with delight.

If you can stomach the outrageous satire, you too will giggle with delight at the film's absurdities. That's due to how well-crafted the film is, especially in the exceptional acting. Evelyne Dandry is simply wonderful as the matriarch who initially despairs at her family falling into "moral decline" before accepting it and embracing the radical acts herself. Another plus is the witty script- I laughed continually as the film mocks social norms to the point I don't want to reveal any more jokes as I fear the comedy will be ruined if I spoil it for the unsuspecting viewers.

Sitcom sadly isn't perfect despite its brave transgressions. It doesn't break any new ground - I can think of more shocking films than this one, and Ozon doesn't take full advantage of lighting/staging nor does he exploit the material for all its worth. Characters come and go when being in service to the plot, and key changes occur offscreen to the audience's annoyance. However, it succeeds in what it set out to do: improve upon Teorema's surreal concept and make it insanely funny for all the weirdos out there in the audience.

Another note to consider comes with the phrase "Sitcom" itself. The title naturally refers to those patriarchal-upholding tools of conformity, but Francois Ozon subverts those expectations by making his slice-of-life dramas into an Aristocrats joke a la John Waters. Further more, he advocates tearing down the patriarchy in order for society to progress. In an age where people yearn to be free from being strangled by traditions, Sitcom is certainly admirable for questioning the status quo by making fun of it.
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Watch out! White rats can make you gay
Chris Knipp27 August 2005
A wry funny look at the bourgeois family and sexual temptation. According to the French movie website Allociné this is Ozon's first full-length film. Perhaps that's not totally accurate. But assuming that it is, he got off to kind of a late start (he was thirty-one then, now he's about thirty-eight) but has had a pretty amazing, high-profile career since then. The father brings home a pet white rat and the sight or touch of it seems to make everybody go sexually haywire beginning with the son's dinner declaration that he's gay. Well-paced amusing outrageous polymorphously perverse and at the same time in a French way genteel, Sitcom has the bright glossy upper middle-class look you'd probably expect from a TV family comedy. An American newspaper reviewer said this is "John Waters crossed with Eric Rohmer," but for various reasons that is silly. At first I thought Ozon was somewhat derivatively channeling Almodóvar, and there is even an obstreperous Spanish housemaid. Ozon's personal touch is that she has an African husband who seduces boys in his gym classes. Ed Gonzalez got it right when he wrote that this is a bad movie but "its queering of genre conventions is still refreshing." It's not revolutionary though, and that goes for all his films I've seen (Water Drops on Burning Rocks is still on my to-see list): Criminal Lovers, Under the Sand, 8 Women, Swimming Pool, 5x2. He's had fun with these and so have we, but there's a certain lack of conviction or consistent style (apart from the gay sensibility) and given that, it's worth looking back at this "minor" effort. It may have more meat in it -- and confront more personal demons -- than the slick ones with Charlotte Rampling.

We can track back those demons in the US DVD's one extra -- Ozon's very first film, a seven-minute silent in color made in 1988, Photo de famille (Family Photo). Like many fledgling efforts the cast consists of the young filmmaker's family members and they're used to show how a youth casually kills his whole family after dinner, poisons his mother, stabs his sister and smothers his father -- with a smile on his face every time, and then props up the dead bodies on a couch and poses with them for an automatic camera photo, throwing back his head and grinning from ear to ear. The young killer (Guillaume Ozon) looks like River Phoenix so that's a plus that would not have eluded the filmmaker whose young male principals in Les amants criminels were good enough looking to be given the full lush gay beauty treatment by the super-campy photo team Pierre et Gilles. Sitcom obviously realizes this early fantasy of intra-familial hostilities with a lot of embroidery added. Sitcom's siblings are played by an actual brother and sister, Marina and Adrien de Van (they sound like the incestuous siblings in Nabokov's Ada!), Marina being an old collaborator and schoolmate of Ozon's who's made films of her own. It's an amusing touch that Stephane Rideau, who's starred in and directed a number of gay films, plays the sister's straight boyfriend. I assume the Ozons in Family Photo are the actual brother and sister and mother and father. Ozon is doing the same thing in Sitcom; it's just more elaborate.
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And they say Canadian movies are perverse
harrytrue19 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Sitcom" deals with an interesting story of a dysfunctional family. It veers from fantasy to reality.

The family of "Sitcom" is tolerant-in this family, you have to be. The mother discovers a unique way of trying to treat her sons' attraction to men, and the daughter tries to branch out. Won't get any more detailed. It does show a brother and sister being very close, bathing together and talking about sex (but not doing it). There are disfuntional families like this, that's the not so funny part.

If "Sitcom" was about a normal family, nobody would watch it. Shakespeare only wrote about disfuntional families. On the other hand, what is a normal family?
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"Incest can't save the western civilization"
Persona198611 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Sitcom is the story of a bourgeois French family whose life is seriously affected when the father (François Marthouret)brings home a new pet: a white lab rat. This animal will prove having an almost hypnotic influence over the family members, causing each of them to release their darkest sides at the slightest physical contact with it. The first to fall is the son (Adrien de Van), who admits himself homosexual at a family dinner. He will be followed short after that by the maid's husband, Abdu (Jules-Emmanuel Eyoum Deido) Then, it's the turn of the daughter (Sophie, played by Marina de Van): she tries to kill herself but fails and becomes paraplegic. From that on, she will subject his loving boyfriend (Stéphane Rideau)to sadomasochistic practices, taking advantage of his devotion to humiliate him. When the mother (Evelyne Dandry) can't stand her world falling apart, she finally overcomes her fear towards the rat and falls under its spell, causing a desperate attempt to "cure" her son from homosexuality. Having said all this, where is the father? Well, let's say he's guilty from bringing the rat to the house. There's a connection between both, rodent and family chief, two sides of the same problem... one the metaphor of the other, perhaps. From rather absurd premises, director and writer François Ozon creates a short, overwhelming comedy —which might not be that subtle but doesn't intend to be either— about family miseries, undressed by the detonating presence of a little, white excuse.
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Hilarious French black comedy
dparrot10 April 1999
Francois Ozon's latest film is a disturbingly funny, hilariously unsettling black comedy. Done in mocking emulation of the flat, situation comedy style of American television, the film shows a series of moments in the life of an all-but-ordinary French family.
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bluevil14 March 1999
this film is definitely a strange grotesque comedy. black and predictable in its unpredictability. i would not recommend it to everyone, but i loved it (although there was this particular scene i could not handle to watch... ;) different to these other movies called outrageous and hilarious this movie does not have a complicated, fragmented, highly-detailed plot. it is a simple story easy to tell (quite different form the almodovar-films i love), but just impossible to happen and unusual for films.
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A sick sick fun
Pluto-322 September 1998
This is definitely not a movie for everyone, but I liked it. . . I think. .. It's basically an outrageous collage of different genres like family drama, horror and those small budgeted films with mostly interior settings (like the French are known to make). It made me think that it could be the French making fun of their own culture and cinema like the Americans do with the Simpsons. The whole film is so extremely grotesque and dark that it makes you laugh. I'm warning you though: it is funny but it's NOT for the prude or people that are easily offended by same sex lifestyle. In the long run, you'll find this film very sick, especially towards the end, but there's a lot of little things to look for.
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The family are in a rut and need a rat to get them out of it.
walshio23 December 1998
Francois Ozon's debut feature aims at black farce and satire, but fails on the both counts.

Structuring the film as sitcom a la I Love Lucy or the appalling BBC show No Place At Home (anyone remember or are you still taking medication to forget?), Ozon is presumably aiming for scabrous wit. However, at 80 minutes, Sitcom feels overly long and mediocre.

The family unit of mum, dad, son and daughter are wealthy and spoilt. They are in a rut and need a rat to get them out of it. On returning from work, the father, a man with a thousand platitudes - only converses in clichés such as "slow and steady wins the race" (very reminiscent of the excellent Heathers) - gives his closet homosexual son, Nicolas, a rodent to keep him company.

The rat is a catalyst you see. Once you pick up it's vermin aura, you become your true self or something. Subsequently, nerdy Nicolas announces he's gay at a family dinner party and duly 'cops-off' with the maid's black husband, a gym instructor named Abdu (Jules-Emmanuel Eyoum Deido). Trust me, it sounds funnier than it actually is. The Coen Brothers would have done this dark tale far more justice.

Anyway, the insidious little rat continues to work its black magic on the other members of the family, until there are attempted suicides, sadomasochistic sexual forays, "in-home orgies" and incest, courtesy of mother and son. All rather appalling, but somehow because the characters are so trite, the scenes leave one indifferent. Maybe, that's the point? But, surely it also needs to be funny?

Ultimately, Sitcom is a tiresome distraction, which only disturbs in the metamorphosis finale. Most unappetising fare.

Ben Walsh
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