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Film / Tanguy

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How do you get your grown kid to move the hell out?

Tanguy is a French comedy directed by Etienne Chatilliez and released in 2000. The title character is a 28-year-old man who lives with his parents and has no desire whatsoever to spread his wings and move out. The only child of a Parisian bobo family, he's smart but selfish, and women, especially Asian ones, somehow find him irresistible. His parents, whose patience is running out, decide to get him to leave by making his life hell.

The film appeared to have hit a chord with the public, as the name "Tanguy" has basically become a generic word for a Basement-Dweller in French-speaking countries, where it's not uncommon to hear people complain that their son is a Tanguy.

As it is, slang moves on and it is starting to fade out.

A sequel, titled Tanguy, le retour ("Tanguy's Return") was released in 2019, seeing Tanguy back from China after 16 years with his daughter Zhu, and settling once again with his hapless parents.


Tanguy provides examples of:

  • The '70s: Tanguy was born in the era of bell-bottom pants and ugly designer furniture, as the interior decoration of his young parents' apartment amply testifies.
  • Basement-Dweller: Actually, Tanguy has a fair amount of his parents' high-end apartment reserved for his own uses.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Soon after he's born, Tanguy's mother tells him "If you want, you can stay with us forever."
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Tanguy's parents.
  • The Cameo: TV producer Philippe Gildas and singer Eddie Mitchell briefly show up as themselves.
  • The Casanova: Tanguy, despite his nerdy looks, is quite the womanizer and can sweet-talk his way into any girl's pants.
  • Character Title
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Tanguy remains blissfully unaware of how much of a pain he is.
  • Computer Virus: His father asks someone at his company's systems department to send a virus into Tanguy's computer. Said virus manifests as the words "I Love You!" and a stylized human skull appearing on the computer screen, and then all the font suddenly falling down as if pulled by gravity.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Tanguy's grandmother.
  • Flyaway Shot: The final shot over the Forbidden City.
  • Geek Physiques: Tanguy, despite a comparatively healthy lifestyle (for a geek) nonetheless has a telltale skinny frame and pale skin.
  • Hacked by a Pirate: Happens like that when the title character's father sends a virus to his PC. The words "I Love You" (name of a notorious virus back then) flash on the computer screen along with a skull.
  • Irony: At the end, Tanguy leaves his parents' place to live in China with his wife's family. In China live-at-home grown children are considered perfectly normal.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The ending hints at the fact that Tanguy's own son will be just as reluctant to leave his parents as Tanguy himself.
    • The old lady who slips in the bathtub. The parents will have to take care of her until she recovers. This occurs right after Tanguy leaves. Out of one frying pan into another.
  • Meddling Parents: Subverted. The parents wish they could not meddle in their son's life, but his reluctance to move out leaves them no choice.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Tanguy speaks fluent Chinese and Japanese, and uses his language skills to seduce Asian women.
  • Multigenerational Household: Tanguy's in-laws at the end of the movie have three generations going on four under one roof.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: See above.
  • Silver Vixen: One of his college students has a one-night stand with Tanguy's mother, and later boasts about it to his classmates. "I can tell you she's pretty good for her age!"

Tanguy, le retour provides examples of:

  • Distant Sequel: The second movie happens 16 years after the first. Tanguy is now 44, and he brings along a teenage daughter with him.
  • Happy Ending Override: At the end of the first movie, Tanguy gets the message and leaves his parents. In the second, he's dumped by his wife and goes back at his parents' place.


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