Jo is a French Black Comedy film released in 1971. It is also known in English-language territories either as Joe: The Busy Body or The Gazebo. It is the second adaptation of the play The Gazebo by Alec Coppel and Myra Coppel. It was directed by Jean Girault and stars Louis de Funès, Claude Gensac, Bernard Blier, Michel Galabru, Guy Tréjean and Ferdy Mayne.
Antoine Brisebard (De Funès), a famous playwright, is struggling with financial difficulties and is preparing to sell his country villa to an English couple, the Grunders. What no one knows, however, is that Brisebard is actually a victim of blackmail since his wife Sylvie (Claude Gensac), a famous actress, is the daughter of a notorious robber-murderer. The malevolent is a criminal extortionist only known as "Monsieur Jo", who visits him often to pick up his hush money.
But faced with certain ruin, Brisebard is preparing to do away with Jo once and for all, planning his deed under the guise of him trying to write the script for a crime play and consulting his friend, attorney Colas, for ideas of how to efficiently get rid of the body. He finally takes up the offer of one Tonelotti (Michel Galabru) to erect a gazebo (garden pavilion), as its foundation would provide the ideal hiding place for the corpse.
Things will not really work as planned for Brisebard...
Not be confused with the French television series Jo.
Jo provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: While he planned Jo's murder, Brisebard ultimately can't go through with it and drops his gun... which discharges accidentally and kills the blackmailer.
- Antagonist Title: It's the name of a criminal extortionist.
- Black Comedy: A comedy with themes such as murder and blackmailing.
- Blackmail: The mysterious "Monsieur Jo" threatens to reveal some Awful Truth about Brisebard's wife and extorts him money.
- Bilingual Bonus: Mr. Grunder mostly speaks English, despite understanding perfectly French.
- Blatant Lies: Brisebard has to rely on them for most of the film.
- Chekhov's Gun: The gazebo from the Puy-de-Dôme.
- Dead Guy on Display: Covered in crude cement shaped as a "statue".
- Disposing of a Body: The entire film revolves about this for Brisebard.
- Eureka Moment: When Brisebard is left with no way to hide the body after the storm knocks the gazebo from its base, lightning suddenly strikes a nearby statue, which gives Brisebard the idea to disguise the body as a statue.Antoine Brisebard: Get me out of here, my God! GET ME OUT OF HERE! [lightning bolt destroys a statue] The Statue? Thank you, my God! THE STATUE!
- The maid, the first time she walks on Brisebard and his attorney friend "rehearsing" a murder... huh... a scene from a play.
- The attorney friend, after Brisebard shoot down the chandelier with the comedy gun he used in their rehearsal.
- When Sylvie finds out what her husband's concrete "statue" really is...
- Finagle's Law: The body seems to have a will of his own and keeps making itself noticeable at the very worst moments.
- ForeshadowingSylvie: And when I get back, I'm sure there will be a corpse!
- From Bad to Worse: Brisebard is a victim of blackmail. Then he kills the blackmailer by accident (it's in fact one of his goons). Then he tries to hide the corpse under a "gloriette" or "gazebo" from the original title of the story (it breaks the very next day after the gazebo his build and supposed to last for 200 years)), next to disguise it as a statue (the plaster falls off) and finally to lock him in a trunk (they don't succeed to dispose of it).
- The Ghost: The eponymous "Monsieur Jo". He isn't even the corpse...
- Grand Romantic Gesture: A bit of a stretch, but Antoine has done all this just to protect his wife's career if anyone learn her father was a gangster and murderer.
- Height Angst: Antoine Brisebard has a special spot on his sofa that makes him look taller than people sitting next.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: The body, whether under the sofa or in a crude concrete statue.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: How the protagonist keeps the audience's sympathy despite planning a murder: when confronted with his blackmailer, he just can't go through it and drops his gun... which discharges accidentally an Instant Death Bullet.
- I Kiss Your Hand: The Gendarme (Paul Préboist) to Mme. Brisebard... until her husband gets fed up and shoo him away.
- Intimate Artistry: Antoine is a comedic playwright who is married to Sylvie, a comedian. He specifically write his plays for her.
- It's for a Book: "It's for a play" to be more accurate. Antoine Brisebard asks about his scheme to his friend with the pretense he wants to do "crime plays" and rehearsing it in order to improve it.
- Lady Drunk: Mrs. Grunder is always drunk.
- Nervous Wreck: Antoine Brisebard. He's played by Louis de Funès, after all.
- One-Word Title: It's an Antagonist Title, and its his first, or last name.
- The Perfect Crime: Brisebard tries to elaborate one. Which will be on the verge of being screwed over multiple times.
- The Power of Cheese: Tonelotti assures Brisebard that, with his foundation work, the gazebo will still be around in two hundred years. It breaks apart the very next day.
- The Reveal: Jo isn't the man Brisebard has killed. It's one of his goons, Riri.Antoine Brisebard: Who did I stuff under the kiosk?
- Running Gag:
- The maid walking into a compromising scene, and bursting into laughter as she thinks they're rehearsing a play (after fainting the first time, when it was actually a rehearsal).
- The body's arm stiffening and moving at the worse moment, making it harder and harder to hide it. At the very end, it does so right into Inspector Ducros' face.
- Specifying that the gazebo is from the Puy-de-Dôme.
- Saying "tutut" while mimicking drinking from a bottle.
- Secondary Character Title: Monsieur Jo starts the plot by blackmailing Antoine Brisebard, but he stays The Ghost throughout the movie. In fact he is killed off-screen, and he isn't even the corpse plaguing the Brisebards...
- A Simple Plan: Which quickly turns into a nightmare.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Brisebard, with...
- Tonelotti. When delivering the gazebo with his truck, Tonelotti smashes Brisebard's property door. He then proceeds to carefully drive over it. Later on, upon discovering the empty grave at the gazebo site, Tonelotti confronts Brisebard about it, calling it a hole and even pointing out it is large enough to fit a man in it and tells Brisebard he resealed it. He also finds Brisebard's shovel and takes it because he mistakenly thinks it's his work tool. He then brings it back at Brisebard's garden party at the exact moment where he discuss with Inspector Ducros. He then proceeds to complain about the hole and actually wants to involve the police about it when Brisebard mentions Ducros being a cop.
- The maid.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Ducros (Bernard Blier).
- Those Two Bad Guys: Leduc and Grand-Louis, who come to fetch Riri's money (and thank Brisebard for having done the dirty work in their place).
- We Were Rehearsing a Play: Justified at the beginning since this IS a rehearsing of a "play" — actually how to plot the "perfect crime". But when Antoine has a real corpse to dispose, he use this excuse which seems believable since he is a comedic playwright.Colas: Why? He does want to commit the "perfect crime"?
Antoine Brisebard: In a matter of speaking, yes.