MR BEAN'S HOLIDAY
Tired of the wet London weather, Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is delighted when he wins a trip to the South of France, complete with a digital video camera. His adventures begin at the classy restaurant in Gare de Lyon, where the maitre d' (Jean Rochefort) talks him into eating seafood he has never seen before. Eventually managing to catch the TGV (very fast train), he is involved in a series of Bean-ish accidents that unite him with the son (Max Baldry) of a Russian jury member (Karel Roden) headed for the Cannes film festival. Before being mistaken for a kidnapper, he stumbles onto the set of a commercial being shot by Palme d'Or contender Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe) and meets the lovely Sabine (Emma de Caunes). And his clumsy video footage ends up as part of a festival acclaimed movie ....
Review by Louise Keller:
A clever concept, inventive script and wondrously whimsical execution makes Mr Bean's Holiday a comical joy. The fish out of water premise of sending Bean to the South of France for the Cannes Film Festival in itself is inspired, and the fact that there is not one but two foreign languages (French and Russian) to contend with, allows Rowan Atkinson's lovable, thick character to naturally be silent. Of course, the idea of a klutz like Bean in the chaotic elegance of the Riviera is funny, as he uses situation comedy, sight gags as well as funny faces and hilarious filmic references. Unlike the disappointing original, this sequel is a breath of fresh air.
It's a comedy of errors when a grinning Mr Bean, wearing his brown tweed jacket and pants sets out to catch the train to Cannes from the Gare de Lyon. Misadventure follows misadventure as Bean gets into the wrong cab, misses his train and finds himself in a swanky restaurant, where he struggles to swallow the oysters on his platter of 'fruits de mer' and shovels them surreptitiously into the open bag of the woman at the next table. Highlights include a busking routine in which he drapes a black sweater on his head for hair and mimes to a soprano's operatic aria after losing his passport, ticket and money, but the piece de resistance is the wonderful sequence when Bean arrives in Cannes and attends the premiere of the film directed by Willem Dafoe's self-absorbed Carson Clay. It is a brilliant piece of cinema and the sight of Bean hanging out of the projectionist's box is unforgettable.
The picturesque French countryside with its wild red poppies and lush, verdant fields looks gorgeous, as is Bean's first sight of the sparkling blue Mediterranean. Everything that can go wrong predictably does so, but all's well that ends well, and the film finishes in oomphy musical style to the strains of La Mer.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Considering I've been to the Cannes film festival at least 20 times, I was interested to see Mr Bean tackle the festival's famous ambiance and security, knowing these were elements that could not be more opposite. And, yes, the climax of the film takes place at a premiere in the festival, but no, it isn't as wildly, wickedly Bean-esque as I had hoped. This was a laboured ending to a slightly laboured film, although I must admit to several chuckles along the way. Most of these were prompted by the classic Bean physical comedy, informed by his unique personality: Bean is best at his most cunning, when his surface idiot meets his deeper villain.
Rowan Atkinson's face continues to deliver the juicy squirms that pass for communication and his pratfalls retain that inelegant quality that serve to entertain our own inner villainous child.
A terrific supporting cast in Willem Dafoe, the boisterous young Max Baldry and especially the charming Emma de Caunes, ensure an entertaining ride, but it's not the riot that Bean's crazy Cannes holiday could have been.
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MR BEAN'S HOLIDAY (PG)
CAST: Rowan Atkinson, Willem Dafoe, Karel Roden, Emma de Caunes, Max Baldry, Jean Rochefort,
PRODUCER: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Peter Bennett-Jones
DIRECTOR: Steve Bendelack
SCRIPT: Robin Driscoll, Hamish McColl, Richard Curtis, Simon McBurney
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Baz Irvine
EDITOR: Tony Craunstoun
MUSIC: Howard Goodall
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Carlin
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 29, 2007