Mr. Bean's Holiday
2007, G, 88 min. Directed by Steve Bendelack. Starring Rowan Atkinson, Emma de Caunes, Max Baldry, Willem Dafoe, Karel Roden.
REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., Aug. 24, 2007
There’s not much to say about Mr. Bean’s Holiday, a semisequel to 1997’s Bean, which found Atkinson’s tweedy, semi-verbal-bungling Englishman abroad in Los Angeles. If you like the character – his tooty yellow Mini, his busily working beetle brows, his tendency to point and grunt and eat shellfish whole – then you will be rewarded with 88 minutes of such. If you are not a fan, Holiday will not win you. Not even with its references to Jacques Tati (the film’s salute to Jour de Fête is prominently featured in the trailer), not even with Bean’s French moppet of a traveling sidekick (Baldry), not even with the winsome young actress (de Caunes) with whom Bean has a thankfully chaste attraction. At the end of the day, it’s either funny when Bean chases a chicken to get back his bus ticket, or it isn’t, and you know where you stand. There’s a satirical bit about a gasbag film director (Dafoe) premiering a ponderous pic at Cannes, Bean’s holiday destination, and I did laugh at Bean disguised as an old woman. (It was the hat.) Certainly Atkinson’s flair for being Bean has not diminished, and he still has the timing and physical control necessary for a satisfying performance of the role at feature length – though some reports suggest Atkinson intends to retire the character after this film. But in the final analysis, this Holiday is a so-so late-summer diversion, unlikely to reignite Beanmania – or repeat the previous film’s boffo box office. It’s worth noting that longtime collaborator Richard Curtis is absent from the credits, and while the G rating correctly suggests that the film is inoffensive to children, that doesn’t mean they won’t be terrified when a father and son are separated in a train station, leaving the boy in childlike (and occasionally mean-spirited) Bean’s dubious care.