It's the old French Salon Game. Think up a conceit, such as "We are all toys in the hands of the bosses," and follow it to its logical conclusion. And it's no fair spoiling things by asking if the premise was correct to begin with.

This one comes from the new French film "The Toy," written and directed by Francis Veber, who wrote "The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe," in which Pierre Richard, who is in this picture, also starred. Richard looks like a man who has just touched a live wire but is hoping not to draw attention to himself. That and the jaunty musical background one always gets in French comedies (and it always seems to be the same jaunty musical background) give the film a comic aura, rather than comedy.

The story is that a French journalist is forced by the newspaper's owner to spend his days pretending to be a live toy in the Louis XV playroom of the boss' small son. The reason a trained journalist must submit to such indignity, it's explained, is that there are 2,000 people of his profession out of work.

But the dignified job he had, before being detailed to the playroom, the job to which he is anxious to return, was to do flattering feature stories on the boss' other business enterprises. You see, he was a toy before he became a toy. We are all toys . . .

But being a toy, he has the privilege of a court clown to be outrageous and to move about freely inside the household of the owner.This is more effective than unionism, it seems, in combatting the evil of powerful bosses. The uncorrupted will perceive the toy as being better than the person who pulls the strings.

Or somethings like that. Anyway, we are all toys, but some of us seem to have wound down.

THE TOY - Outer Circle. CAPTION: Picture, PIERRE RICHARD AS "THE TOY," IN THE MOVIE OF THE SAME NAME.