Mr. Bean’s Holiday
Rowan Atkinson, Willem Dafoe, Jean Rochefort
Directed by Steve Bendelack
Universal 2007
90 minutes

I did not expect that much from a Mr. Bean movie because though some of the Bean TV episodes are great, many do wear the premise rather thin.

Much the same can be said about the  Mr. Bean’s Holiday  DVD. The first twenty or so minutes surprised and amazed me  but once the kid gets involved the story starts to drags.

Fortunately, it picks up a bit when Bean loses the kid and meets the girl and gets better once in Cannes.

Mr. Bean wins a holiday to Cannes on the French Riviera but getting there will not be that easy. Along with this prize is a camcorder that Bean uses constantly. Atkinson uses Bean’s camcorder not only to give us the character’s point of view from time to time but also to set up laughs here and there.

I have seen other comedies where the camcorder is an integral part of the humor but here it is often believable in an almost cinema verite way.

The reason Mr. Bean’s Holiday works well in some places is Atkinson makes a different choice than the viewer expects when it comes to gags.

You see this early on in the movie and this keeps you on your toes and interested as the jokes and laughs are not really predictable.

Unfortunately, this is not always so and you can see this begin to happen when Bean puts his passport and wallet on top of the public telephone.

There are some sublime and original moments in Mr. Bean’s Holiday. The oyster scene itself is priceless: if you’ve never been tempted to try oysters, this is not the movie that will convince you to try them though you will learn a couple of very useful tricks to really savor them.

Continuity wise there are a couple of glitches. For example, the band at the Gare de Lyon is the exact same band in the same clothes in the open market scene.

One question I really would like answered about the Mr. Bean’s Holiday DVD has to do with the extra feature “Bean in Cannes”. Part of this movie pokes fun at some of the pretentious films screened in Cannes yet some of the comments in this extra feature are just as pretentious. The question is do these people realize it?


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