Review: Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Don’t be fooled by the titular reference to Jacques Tati’s classic, droll M. Hulot’s Holiday.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday
Photo: Universal Pictures

Don’t be fooled by the titular reference to Jacques Tati’s classic, droll M. Hulot’s Holiday. Rowan Atkinson’s latest venture as the fumbling, bumbling British boob Mr. Bean simply delivers more of the same awful mugging and simplistic pratfalls that have endeared the character to absolutely no one I know. Steve Bendelack’s Mr. Bean’s Holiday follows Bean as he embarks on a trip to the French Riviera, during which he endlessly films himself in close-up with his camcorder, gets lost, loses all his possessions, befriends a Russian director’s son named Stepan (Max Baldry), whom he’s quickly accused of kidnapping, and finds himself in the company of an actress (Emma de Caunes) headed to the Cannes Film Festival where her newest project, directed by pompous auteur Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe), is premiering. Clay’s drearily narcissistic work is meant to lampoon art-house pretensions, but such a caricature might have fared better were the cinematic alternative offered here more tolerable than Bean making funny faces into the camera with a whole langoustine sticking out of his mouth. Or repeatedly saying “gracias” to the French. Or goofing off in a Nazi uniform. G-rated safe, the film takes no chances and pushes no buttons, happy to coast along on limp gags that only a young child unfamiliar with superior humor might tolerate. Nods to Tati as well as Chaplin’s The Kid pop up here and there, all attempts by Atkinson to once again posit himself as the modern heir to their physical comedy throne. It’s a vain endeavor, though Mr. Bean’s Holiday does engender warm feelings during a scene in which Stepan repeatedly slaps Bean in the face.

Score: 
 Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Emma de Caunes, Max Baldry, Karel Roden, Willem Dafoe  Director: Steve Bendelack  Screenwriter: Hamish McColl, Robin Driscoll  Distributor: Universal Pictures  Running Time: 88 min  Rating: G  Year: 2007  Buy: Video

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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