out of Five
Running time: 89
Enjoyable, surprisingly sweet comedy, which softens the edges of the Bean character and aims for a more classic silent comedy vibe.
What’s it all about?
When hapless weirdo Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) wins a trip to the French Riviera at a village fete, he soon gets into trouble when he inadvertently separates a Russian father (Karel Roden) from his young son (Max Baldry) whilst boarding a train in Paris. Thrown off the train, Bean and Max have to use all their ingenuity to make it to the French Riviera, little realising that Max’s father has launched a national manhunt for his son.
Meanwhile, Bean and Max receive help from Sabine (Emma de Caunes), a friendly actress who is working on a movie with pretentious film director, Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe).
The film is very much inspired by the work of classic silent comedians such as Chaplin and Keaton, as well as Jacques Tati (Mr Hulot’s Holiday). This was achieved with the help of Theatre de Complicite co-founder Simon McBurney, who worked closely with Atkinson on some of the film’s funniest scenes (for example, an inspired sequence where Bean and Max are busking for cash).
Atkinson gives an astonishing physical performance and it’s notable that he has hardly any dialogue, although his three words of French (oui, non and
gracias) provide an amusing running gag. There’s also strong support from Baldry (lively and likeable), Emma de Caunes (thankfully she’s not the love
interest) and a very game Willem Dafoe.
Crucially, the film-makers have decided to make Bean more of a bumbling innocent, than the obnoxious and frequently mean-spirited character of the TV show. Similarly, the initially tedious conceit of Bean’s ever-present video camera pays off beautifully in the surprisingly moving and cleverly written climax.
With superb performances and some inspired gags Mr Beans Holiday is a surprisingly sweet comedy that’s a huge improvement on the previous film. Worth seeing.
Mr Bean's Holiday (PG)