Employee of the Month [Irréductible] — Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022

Review by Michele E. Hawkins.

Vincent Peltier (Jérôme Commandeur) has the perfect life.  He is doted on not only by his mother but also by his girlfriend’s mother.  He has the ideal “job for life” at the Water and Forestry Department in Limoges, within easy reach of his adoring families.  His work isn’t remotely taxing and brings with it special bonuses.  His girlfriend idolises him and is only waiting for his proposal to make her dreams come true.  His friends are terrifically supportive in their mutual endeavours and enjoyments.  Could life get any better?  Probably not.  Could it get worse?  Definitely.

Those newly in the luxurious corridors of power have made a drastic decision: trim the fat.  Not the fat they enjoy; the fat further down the chain.  And given the job of trimming is zealous ministerial inspector Isabelle Bailliencourt (Pascale Arbillot).  For the most part she manages to efficiently do the workers out of their rights by giving them the meanest severance packages possible, but Vincent is having none of it.  A guaranteed job for life is just that.  Bailliencourt has met her match.

With her own career prospects dependent on her managing Vincent out of the service, Bailliencourt sends him to increasingly unpleasant postings.  But Vincent won’t budge.  Well, there’s always the North Pole.  It’s a bit chilly up there for Vincent, but things heat up when he meets scientist Inger (Karina Beuthe Orr).  Vincent’s life is about to change — really change.

Jérôme Commandeur as Vincent is the embodiment of the slightly roguish, civil servant who wants nothing more than the easy life but is forced out of his comforts by the outrageous suggestion that he should earn his way.  Vincent’s refusal to give up on Easy Street has him careening from one very funny twisty–turny adventure to the next until the inevitable, final clash plays out between two “very polite” civil-servant combatants.

Written (along with Xavier Maingon) and directed by, and starring, Jérôme Commandeur, Employee of the Month is great fun from first to last.  Its unpredictable storyline, smart plot twists, and universally terrific acting will tickle any funny-bone.  If you’re up for a bit of engaging merriment, then don’t miss it.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

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