Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean’s Holiday; My Nightmare. . . .

I recently became aware of the lack of good G-rated movies (except Ratatouille, of course) when my 4-year-old daughter and I went out to the movies for our weekly father-daughter date night. Regretfully, the only choice left to us was Mr. Bean’s Holiday.

I have to admit my biases up front. I have never completely understood the Mr. Bean phenomenon. I am not certain whether this is the result of being American, over age 30, or simply of above-average intelligence. However, there are two questions that I have never answered to any degree of satisfaction; is Mr. Bean in fact retarded, a mental patient, or both? If so, why is he allowed to take an unsupervised vacation?

Given that I am not the intended audience for the film, I will try to interpret it with some degree of objectivity.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday occurs when the title character, played by Rowan Atkinson, decides to take a trip to Cannes, France to see the ocean. He unwittingly schedules his vacation to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival, a time when just about everyone and their sister’s dog is apparently headed for Cannes.

Along the way he accidentally befriends a young boy, played by Preston Nyman, and a young actress named Sabine, played with girl-next-door cuteness by Emma de Caunes. A series of slapstick misadventures follows, as is typical for the Mr. Bean franchise.

One of the unusual characters encountered on his trip is Carson Clay, played by Willem Dafoe. This is probably one of the most legitimately funny portions of the movie. Clay is a movie director, and is in the process of creating his “masterpiece;” a “Carson Clay Production, directed by Carson Clay, written by Carson Clay, starring Carson Clay. . . ” and so forth. Dafoe’s Clay is a self-centered, egomaniacal jerk intended to poke fun at the Film Festival production crowd which it does very well.

Eventually the three do reach Cannes. The boy is returned to his father. Strange end song reminiscent of The 40-year-old Virgin. End titles.

This movie did seem to reach its target audience, which if the attendance in our theater is any guide consists primarily of children between 4 and 8. This age group laughed often and heartily through the film, convincing me that I was probably so far separated from the intended audience as to make my review almost meaningless.

My daughter, age 4, seemed somewhat ambivalent about the movie, although she did seem to find the fact that this silliness was part of live action movie somewhat odd (“I thought this was going to be a cartoon,” she said at one point).

Perhaps I could have enjoyed it better if I had overdosed on Provigil and suffered a minor head injury. Or if there had been cameos by at least 3 Jessicas. But I digress. . . .

I give it a generous * Jessica out of a possible four.

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