The fiftysomething owner of a small software firm coveted by multinational sharks is the object of some highly creative industrial espionage in “A Model Employee.” Modest if peppy pic, starring Francois Berleand as the generous and understanding boss, doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, but makes for a consistently pleasant diversion. Package from writer-director Jacques Otmezguine is nifty tube fare.
Opposed to the evils of globalization, hardworking Francois Maurey (Berleand) has no intention of letting American suitors take over his company and its X-27 program. One night, Francois gives a lift to Florence (Delphine Rollin) a pretty young damsel in distress whose volatile husband (Steve Suissa) beats her. Florence is soon working as a receptionist for Francois and seduces the still-married but separated exec. Vocal employee Roland (Bruno Todeschini) behaves suspiciously around the company computers; Francois, in love, finds himself an accessory to murder; and the police are acting strange. Thesps deliver with broad strokes, and the agreeably sinister score by Philippe Rombi is just right. Copyrighted 2001, pic predates Berleand’s dazzling recent turn as a vicious and diabolical boss in Guillaume Canet’s “Whatever You Say” (Mon idole).