August 30, 2007

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Mr. Beanís Holiday (G)
Rowan Atkinson delivers his audition tape for the role as the Charlie Chaplin of his generation with Mr. Beanís Holiday, the sequel to the 1997 Bean.

In that movie, Bean came to America. In this movie, Bean goes to France. To some extent, no other description of the movie is really needed. But, if we mustÖ

Mr. Bean (Atkinson) wins a trip to the south of France and a video camera in a church raffle. His trip is derailed, however, when his desire to document his trip causes a man (Karel Roden) to miss the train carrying Bean but also the manís young son Stepan (Max Baldry). Bean tries to look out for the boy and then himself misses the train (after first missing his wallet and passport). Adrift and cashless, Bean tries busking for some bucks and then wanders onto the set of a commercial directed by Carson (Willem Dafoe), who is about to have a movie premiere at Cannes. One of his actresses, Sabine (Emma de Caunes) takes a liking to Bean and, lucky for him, she also has a car. Soon all of our mad mad mad mad characters on their way to Cannes and, due to some mistaken identity, most of them think Bean has kidnapped Stepan.

The Mr. Bean character is, I guess, perfect for this kind of straight forward, very physical comedy. Heís practically non-verbal. Most of his sentences are one word long and he doesnít talk so much as he grimaces and makes a noise somewhere between a grunt and a whine. Heís good at contorting his body in a way thatís strange enough to elicit a chuckle without being so strange that it disturbs people.

Mr. Beanís Holiday is not bad or, really, in any way unpleasant. It is, for me, simply soporific. I started watching the film wide-eyed and sitting up straight in my chair. As the movie went on, I slumped in to the stadium seating, eventually stretching out, resting my head on the chair, flopping my feet over a neighboring chair exactly the way that all those pre-movie announcements tell you not to. I didnít fall asleep but it wouldnít have taken much to get me drifting off. The character simply doesnít make me laugh enough to keep me interested and the Mr. Bean character is 95 percent of the Mr. Bean movies. Thank goodness for the slightly-too-cold air conditioner in the theater ó a bit warmer and I would have had to pay to see the movie again, this time with coffee and No Doz in hand. C

Rated G. Directed by Steve Bendelack and written by Simon McBurney, Hamish McColl and Robin Driscoll from a character by Rowan Atkinson, Mr. Beanís Holiday is an hour and 28 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Universal Pictures Distribution.