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Mr Bean's Holiday
Genre Comedy
Year: 2007
 
Review:
Mr Bean’s Holiday is not what one would expect from Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean in a sequel. The trailer was funny, and many would have expected Mr Bean’s Holiday to be something on the verge of his first feature length film, Bean: The Movie. His first attempt was designed to penetrate the US market, but it just didn’t work. The story was ludicrous, and simply connected revamped Bean TV series comedy skits. This didn’t charm the audience, and simply betrayed British audiences and fans that had seen the TV episodes. It was funny, but something was missing. Now Rowan Atkinson is back in Mr Bean’s Holiday, in his second outing, in which he tours France.

Mr. Bean (Atkinson) wins a raffle back home, and is given train tickets to a sunny Cannes beach resort and a camcorder to document his trip. He embarks on the journey by himself, and meets a young Russian boy en route to Cannes. Thanks to the Mr. Bean’s selfish antics, the boy is separated from his father, who happens to be a big time Russian director on his way to judge the film festival. Now it’s up to Bean to make right, and reconnect father and son. In his attempts to re-establish contact, he finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime.

Mr Bean’s Holiday is a breath of fresh air. The direction is interesting and the material isn’t simply repackaged. There’s a nice balance of story and humour to give Bean opportunities to showcase his rubber face and hilarious logic. France is the perfect setting and the atmosphere is quite accurate from a tourist’s point-of-view. Mr. Bean doesn’t say much, a characteristic that makes him accessible to anyone. Director Steve Bendelack (League of Gentlemen, Little Britain) portrays the character differently to the television series. Close ups, and the use of a hand-held camcorder make the experience interesting, more authentic and more lively. The French countryside is beautiful, and a slice of Paris is always a welcome treat for the eyes. Atkinson isn’t pushing too hard, he knows when to turn it up with Bean, and when to cool it down. What you’ll find in Mr Bean’s Holiday is that Mr. Bean has some qualities that make him more human and less alien. He’s an alien to the French, yet personable to anyone that has ever toured another country without a dictionary or phrasebook.

At times I was reminded of Cinema Paradiso and Life is Beautiful. It has a European feel, which adds a touch of class and charm. Bean tries to befriend the boy, and the two become friends in their desperate attempts to get to Cannes. The language barrier, culture clashes and typical Bean hilarity make the film magical and memorable. Add the sense of France, it’s beautiful landscapes and you’ve got a winner. Willem Dafoe even makes an appearance as the self-absorbed Carson Clay.

What’s fantastic about Mr Bean’s Holiday is that it’s well-rounded, and it’s only clean laughs that make the cut. It’s a warm film that will make you smile and restore your faith in Bean’s ability. Having said that, if you’re totally anti-Bean you may be surprised, but then again, you may want to wait to out yourself when it comes to DVD. It’s good-natured family fun that can be enjoyed by everyone. Hats off to a great cast, director, location scout, writers and Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson announced that this would be the last outing for Mr. Bean, and the character bows out on a high note. For a good laugh, and plenty of smiles - make sure you get to see Mr Bean’s Holiday. To reiterate the tag line ‘Disaster has a passport’.

The bottom line: Delightful.

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