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Work Hard, Play Hard (2003)

Violence des échanges en milieu tempéré (original title)
Philippe Seigner, a charming business school graduate from the French Pyrenees, starts his career in business consulting at the posh Paris seat of McGregor. His first serious task is a ... See full summary »


1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Philippe Seigner
Hugo Paradis
Olivier Perrier ...
Roland Manin
Adji Zerouane
Martine Chevallier ...
Suzanne Delmas (as Martine Chevalier)
Pierre Cassignard ...
Thierry Molinaro
Nozha Khouadra ...
Samia Zerouane
Dani ...
La mère d'Eva
Alain Rimoux ...
François Delhaye
Mickaël Chirinian ...
Bernard Sens ...
Valérie Kéruzoré ...
David Migeot ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Florence Barillot ...
Assistente cabinet juridique


Philippe Seigner, a charming business school graduate from the French Pyrenees, starts his career in business consulting at the posh Paris seat of McGregor. His first serious task is a delicate one, an audit at the Janson food cans factory in the provinces, which is about to be taken over. As he soon realizes, this will mean sacking about 80 employees, as his boss Hugo Paradis knew from the start. However, his Paris girl friend reproaches him collaborating with ruthless capitalism, as if any of the downsizing could be stopped or mitigated by him bowing out. Nevertheless, as he gets to knew the threatened staff better he considers risking his career when his boss orders him to chose who should go. Meanwhile the factory staff starts realizing what's about to happening. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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undressing | sex | love | swimwear | nudity | See All (12) »


Comedy | Drama






Release Date:

14 January 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Eine einmalige Chance  »

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User Reviews

Finally a film about "social issues in a corporate takeover" without clichés.
7 February 2009 | by (Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

I felt a lot with this movie, specially after the ending, it all made sense. I have seldomly heard better placed music, it goes right to the point of emphasizing the climates, but without having a clear "message". It's suggestive, not omnipresent and telling you what to think. I am more of a "classical music" person, but in this case, rock or whatever modern it is that they are playing, for once transmits feelings and nuances, while not intruding with the story.

When I read the synopsis I feared another: "Ressources humaines" (1999), which already copied "Wall Street" and others. We all know the story: "the young brash executive coming up with the best CV. is recruited for doing the 'dirty work' at a company that's reducing personnel. He's a sensitive chap, probably a love interest makes him suffer a bit for the laying off he's got to do, but the 'big time' comes when in the list he sneaks out the name of his dad or some other 'helpless relative/ significant other' and then his morale has to come to terms with the fact that 'it's not only numbers, it's your dad'".

As the young men were listening to classical music in a super car I thought: "the same scene than in "Ressources" (where the boss listens to Vivaldi, and that creates a striking contrast between the dirty job they've got to undertake. Besides, it is intended to show how "elitist and far removed from reality" the executives are). Well, no.

Philippe Seigner is a human being, feels sorry for the people he's got to lay off, but he's also human, he wants to succeed, and he also sees (after a very good telling off by his young boss) that the workers aren't exactly good to him either. What I liked about this film it's that it's not "linear" like RH. In here there's not a big "discovery of the truth" like the structuralists would want us to (remember, Levi Strauss and the other Frenchmen, at the Uni :)?). For instance, the employee who resisted Philippe more, after being disgusting to him and to the female lawyer, shows his humanity later in a heartbreaking scene. One may not share his methods, but his logic is clear, he's a man with good principles, and his "they are all good" reply to the questionnaire makes sense afterwards. He's protecting his stuff from what he perceives as a menace. Not a random "baddie", who turns out to be intelligent afterwards, like the union's delegate at RH. Eva is fine as a manipulative beauty. Her mother has one of the best lines: "Don't bring your daughter too much (...) Men don't talk much, and when they do, it's too late".

The "casting" Philippe does is fine, in that in a few glimpses it's as if you didn't need to ask more, you know what it's going to happen to this employees. His chief is very good, again, when he scolds him: "I chose you BECAUSE you care, for I wanted the employees to be heard and feel understood, not just laid off". This movie is universal in that the realities it shows, like older people not being able to come to terms with technology or changes so much, happen anywhere. Not just in the first world. Those employees could be in any factory in the world. Here in Latin America for instance. I'm glad a French film could attain that: many are a bit self centered and gleefully showing the French well, themselves.

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