Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)

I've enjoyed the "Mr. Bean" British television series. These short episodes all place Mr. Bean in some unknown situation, which he copes with in his trademark way. The humor is very physical, and Atkinson can bring this character to life doing a mundane task like painting a room, or preparing a meal. I was disappointed with the last film that Rowan Atkinson was in because I'd rather see him as Bean, and this time around, I got what I wanted in Mr. Bean's Holiday.

It's always a challenge to scale up a TV show to the big screen. The key is to place Bean into the unknown, and this time it's a trip from England to Cannes along the French Riviera. It was cleverly chosen to put Bean into a foreign country with a language he doesn't speak to keep the dialogue to a minimum. Not too many actors can pull off a full movie with only a handful of words from the main character (at least since "talkies" have been made), but it does work here.

On one level, this film is the classic road trip. In any of the films of the genre, there are unexpected twists along the way, new people to meet, challenges to overcome, all to get to the final destination. These generally live up to the statement that "half the fun is getting there," and this time around, only a few minutes are spent at Cannes, so it's all about the journey. There are parts that are reminiscent of the film Dumb and Dumber down to the scene on the moped, and the falling asleep while driving the car.

There is another level to Mr. Bean's Holiday as well. This is the distinctly European flair to it, and the challenges of traveling abroad. While not as simplistic as National Lampoon's European Vacation, some of the same themes come up. These include ordering food in a French restaurant, losing your wallet and passport, navigating Paris, and hitching a ride to the destination.

Don't think that Mr. Bean's Holiday is all go, and no show (to turn a phrase). There is plenty of original humor, and some very funny bits. I thought the scene on the train when he spills his coffee was among the funniest Bean I've watched. Also, when he dines at the Paris restaurant it's rather humorous as he can't order, what he winds up with, and how he disposes of it. Finally, when Bean "sings for his supper" at the Paris countryside market it is a scene to be remembered.

Overall, I liked Mr. Bean's Holiday quite much, and felt that it was true to the television character that many enjoy. It is much stronger than his original Bean film, so if you're looking for some good physical comedy, then it is sure to please.

Overall Grade: A-

Reviewed by Jonas

1 comment:

smg58 said...

I'd rather see Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder myself, but we may give this one a try.