SirTheory’s Treatise on Life

(opinions on just about anything)

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

In the United States of America, Mr. Bean has really only been a trivial curiosity. The Mr. Bean television show was hot stuff in England, where the all-powerful BBC aired it. Yet in America it has never gotten more than a cult following. It’s hard to blame America, considering our general suspicion of British humor, not to mention everything British humor tends to get compared to Monty Python, which makes shows like Mr. Bean pale considerably.

Mr. Bean, who was created and played by Rowan Atkinson, is a completely different brand of humor from Monty Python. The television show has elements of sketch to it, but deviates largely by keeping the same main character throughout the entire show and series. Really, it could be considered a cross between Napoleon Dynamite (despite predating Napoleon by a couple of decades) and Monty Python. However, there is a lot of slapstick involved with Mr. Bean. Visual humor is huge due to the fact that Mr. Bean doesn’t really speak beyond some simple words like, “Yes.” He is portrayed as being “special” without being considered stupid. The entire success of any Mr. Bean project, be it the TV series or any of the movies, lies entirely with Atkinson and his ability to not get repetitive. Sometimes, as with the first Bean movie, it does get repetitive.

Thankfully Mr. Bean’s Holiday, an unconnected follow-up to Bean, feels like a breath of fresh air for the Bean franchise. Unlike the Bean movie, Holiday doesn’t try to do too much. Bean felt like the producers were adding a lot of stupid stuff to try and appeal to American audiences. Holiday lacks that baggage. It is more linear while retaining the heart and sly wink of the television series. None of the characters, other than Bean himself, feels over the top.

Helping Holiday and Atkinson is Emma de Caunes and Max Baldry. Baldry is a kid whom, due to Bean’s desire to get a photo of himself outside a train, loses his father. The kid becomes a frequent companion for Bean on his travels: they try to locate the father using a cryptic clue and Bean wants to find the beach. They hit bumps in the road and it feels hopeless when Emma de Caunes gets pulled into their crew. de Caunes portrays an actress hoping to get her big break. Bean meets her when he unknowingly stumbles upon a movie set and, mistaking her action sequence for a real life event, tries to save her. It sounds so tediously cheesy, yet Emma de Caunes’ warmth brings a great spark to the film at just the right place.

In the end, Mr. Bean’s Holiday ends up being a warmer and more sympathetic Bean than we’ve known before. Atkinson manages this without sacrificing the humor. In the end, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, like any Bean product, won’t be for everyone. However, a wider audience should be able to appreciate this offering over the television series or Bean.

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September 17, 2007 Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment