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Family-friendly 'Mr. Bean's Holiday' (2007) takes a vacation from seriousness

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Reel Mama: Family-friendly 'Mr. Bean's Holiday' (2007) takes a vacation from seriousness

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Family-friendly 'Mr. Bean's Holiday' (2007) takes a vacation from seriousness

Photo credit: Universal

Boy, are you in for a treat!  “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” ranks among my personal favorite comedy films.  Perhaps it didn’t pass cinematic muster with the tastemakers, but the movie has my two-year-old and the most straight-faced grownup members of my family laughing out loud from start to finish.  How many G-rated films can claim to entertain your toddler, your ten-year-old, your fifteen-year-old, you and your spouse/significant other, not to mention the grandparents?  

The film is a favorite across three generations in my family.  Sometimes a G-rating is equated with baby stuff, but in this case it’s just fun stuff.  Even if slapstick isn’t your thing, it’s worth checking out because it’s guaranteed to entertain the kids.

Rowan Atkinson stars as Mr. Bean, an oblivious
but well-meaning schlimazel in "Mr. Bean's Holiday"
Photo credit: Universal

In the movie Mr. Bean (played by legendary British comedian and "Black Adder" veteran Rowan Atkinson) wins a trip to Cannes in the French Riviera, and a camcorder to document his journey, in a church raffle.  In the misadventures that ensue, Mr. Bean accidentally separates a young Russian boy Stepan (Max Baldry) from his father, who as luck would have it is heading to Cannes as a jurist at the Cannes Film Festival.  Mr. Bean’s mission then becomes twofold: to help Stepan find his father, and to get to the beach.  Along the way they hitch a ride with an actress (Emma de Caunes) starring in a film directed by self-important filmmaker Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe) that is set to premiere at the festival.  Needless to say, the Cannes Film Festival is turned upside down with Mr. Bean’s arrival.

Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) has countless mishaps
Photo credit: Universal

Sometimes the movie is just pure silliness, it’s true, but Atkinson is a genius when it comes to physical comedy.  There isn’t any other comedic actor working today who can touch his skills for slapstick, timing, and hilarious facial expressions.  Highlights include Mr. Bean boogying down in an open market to Shaggy’s “Mr. Bombastic” (again, quite G-rated shimmying--nothing to worry about) and lip synching to opera.  Mr. Bean in drag is absolutely a hoot, and a bit scary.  

Mr. Bean in drag
Photo credit: Universal

Cinephiles need to check this film out too.  You won’t want to miss the send-ups of an over-the-top yogurt commercial and the Cannes Film Festival itself.  Willem Dafoe’s super-hilarious and all-too-accurate portrayal of the self-indulgent director is spot-on.  
Mr. Bean is oblivious to his surroundings.  He doesn’t seem to “get” the consequences of his actions, but that is part of the humor.  He’s not the brightest bean in the tamale. His rudeness is unintentional.  He’s clearly on his own planet, and he can be selfish at times, but he does have a heart.  He’s likable and funny, and ultimately he does the right thing.  I won’t be giving too much away to reveal that this one has a happy ending.

Mr. Bean reaches la mer.
Photo credit: Universal

Reel Mama’s rating: Appropriate for all ages.
Unfortunately the movie does contain one instance of the “D”-word.   It’s in the subtitles, said by Stepan in Russian when he loses Mr. Bean during one of their escapades.  The instance seems unnecessary in a film that otherwise is perfectly family friendly.  Since it is in the subtitles, it will go right over the heads of pre-readers.  Parents of young readers may wish to preview the film.  
Other instances include artillery fire from tanks during the yogurt commercial (I mentioned that it’s over-the-top), which may prove too scary for very young viewers.  Finally, there is a scene of a man jumping from the Pont du Gard in order to end his life. (The man thinks it’s his wife calling because their marriage is over.  It’s actually Mr. Bean trying to get in touch with Stepan’s father.  Mr. Bean hangs up, and the man jumps.)  
Overall, the film is so wonderfully fun and funny that these instances don’t deter me from recommending it for all ages, especially since they are easy for parents to fast forward through after previewing the film.
Here’s a link to some fun downloadable coloring sheets from the movie.

Enjoy a laugh at Mr. Bean's expense
with "Mr. Bean's Holiday"


At July 29, 2012 at 10:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I*t should have been called " Mr. Bean in Cannes".


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