Some cringe inducing stereotypes but the underlying portrayal of a gay nuclear family in a homophobic society is a remarkably transgressive notion for '78. A middling film, saved by the performances. The characters feel genuine, emotionally grounded and not merely mincing their way through homophobic cliches. Laurent's youth and guilelessness makes the plot seem less cruel than in The Birdcage's (1996) retelling.
Seeing the film today, for the first time, years after enjoying The Birdcage, can be a quiet nostalgia trip. You are amazed how faithfully The Birdcage remade the film, almost frame by frame, except for the scene about the ‘John Wayne walk’ and the extended madcap finale. Seeing the film today, you recognized how important the film would have been in 1978, but today, the film has not aged quite well.
Good fun, although time has dimmed the more outré moments. There's some attempt at emotional depth between the lead characters but for the large part it's farce at one-step removed with a rather cold, distant feeling. Plainly filmed, although the pleasantly soft lighting isn't often found in such broad comedies.