Revisited #4: Bean: The Movie
PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a well-meaning, but hopelessly clumsy and destructive guard at the Royal National Gallery in London. Attempts by the gallery’s board of directors to fire Bean are thwarted by the chairman who, for unspecified reasons, is very fond of him. Desperate to rid themselves of the turmoil Bean unintentionally causes, the board members send him to the United States to represent them at the unveiling of the portrait Whistler’s Mother, which has been purchased for $50 million by the fictional Grierson Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Bean’s visit has been arranged by the gallery’s curator, David Langley (Peter MacNicol), who is very impressed by the National Gallery’s fabricated praise of “Dr. Bean”, and decides to board him in his house. On his flight to Los Angeles, Bean attempts to amuse a child with air sickness by blowing up his M&M’s bag and popping it to wake up the man in front of him, but without success. After the child throws up into an air sickness bag, Bean takes the bag from him and repeats the bag popping over the man’s face, only to splatter him with vomit. He hides from the man upon his arrival to Los Angeles, where he is detained at the airport due to pretending to have a gun. His arrival at David’s house is initially met with subtle hostility from David’s wife Alison (Pamela Reed), son Kevin (Andrew Lawrence), and daughter Jennifer (Tricia Vessey). Unfortunely, Alison refuses David’s request to allow Bean to live with them for two months, and David promises Alison that he will talk to Bean and take him to a hotel after their meeting at the gallery.
Bean’s unorthodox arrival at the gallery worries many of David’s colleagues, particularly his boss, George Grierson (Harris Yulin), who subtly warns David that he will be responsible for Bean’s actions at the unveiling of the painting, but David promises that he can handle Bean, convinced that he is merely a little eccentric. When David takes Bean back to his house, Alison departs for her mother’s home, unwilling to live with Bean. With his family gone, David decides to take Bean on a tour of the Los Angeles art galleries before Whistler’s Mother arrives. However, Bean decides that he and David should go to Pacific Park instead, but lands in police detainment for the second time after tampering with the controls of a motion simulator ride, making it go dangerously fast after deeming that his first ride earlier was too slow. This prompts Lieutenant Brutus (Richard Gant), who dealt with Bean at the airport, makes David accountable for Bean and threatening to arrest Bean if he ever steps out of line again.
Following a miserable dinner with Grierson which David had forgotten about, where Bean accidentally blows up the microwave after attempting to cook their Thanksgiving turkey in it, David finally realises that Bean is not a doctor and knows nothing about art. David is obliged to continue with the deception, however, as he has already staked his professional career on Bean’s supposed reputation as a noted art scholar. The next day, Whistler’s Mother arrives at the Grierson Art Gallery, and Bean is given a few minutes alone to study it, in an effort to keep him out of trouble. While dusting the frame, Bean accidentally sneezes on the painting and wipes it with a handkerchief, not knowing that it is covered in blue ink from a broken pen, and therefore the painting is stained. Terrified, Bean takes it to a supply room to get some agent by which to remove the ink. He uses lacquer thinner, which also dissolves the painted face from the painting. Much to his horror, Bean attempts to patch it up with an extremely unconvincing cartoon face. Upon seeing it, David is also horrified and hides the painting behind its metal security shutters. Fearing that David will lose his job and possibly face criminal proceedings for his vandalism, he and Bean head off to a bar to drown their sorrows.
During the night, Bean hatches his plan to restore Whistler’s Mother. Bean gathers a few items from David’s house and makes his way to the Grierson Art Gallery. Bean distracts the only security guard on duty by putting laxative in his coffee, followed by switching the men’s bathroom keys with some other set. He removes the destroyed painting from its frame and replaces it with a poster version of itself, glossing it with an egg and varnish mix to make it appear authentic. At the unveiling of Whistler’s Mother the next day, David is overjoyed to see Bean finally restore the painting, but expects Bean, who has totally forgotten to come up with a speech, to make a fool of himself on national television when he takes the podium at the press conference. However, Bean’s brief but effective off-the-cuff speech regarding the work is both very simple and very deep, cementing the public’s perception of him as a scholarly virtuoso. Despite initial doubts, the officials and hierarchy appear to take his words to heart and enjoy the speech. After the unveiling, Brutus finds David and informs him that Jennifer has been involved in a motorcycle accident because she rebelled against David for not getting rid of Bean and is in intensive care. Bean and David are given a police escort to the hospital to see Jennifer, but Brutus stops on his way to deal with an armed robber, who shot Brutus in his stomach before being arrested.
Due to a mix-up at the hospital, Bean is mistaken for a doctor and pushed into an operating theatre containing Brutus, who is still barely alive. While the other doctors and nurses are distracted, Bean unconventionally retrieves the bullet and eventually rescues Brutus, earning the admiration of his colleagues. Bean is again mistaken for a doctor and this time, David takes him to see Jennifer, who is unconscious. Bean, unsure what to do, attempts to use a defibrillator to bring Jennifer back to life, but accidentally shocks himself and is sent flying across the room and lands on Jennifer in her bed and waking her up in the process. Still not recognising Bean, David and Alison tells him that they will offer him anything. Bean reveals himself and later asks if he can stay with them for another week before returning to London. Though baffled, the Langleys gladly accept. After another week in Los Angeles with the Langleys, for which he gives the family gifts, and explores the city, a biker shows him his middle finger, Bean thinks it is a sign of good luck and heads to the airport to return to London. Before leaving, David tells Bean that he is welcome to come back and visit any time he likes. In his flat, Bean, getting ready to bed for the night, turns off the light and looks at the original vandalised Whistler’s Mother, which now has pride-of-place on his wall, and shows it to his Teddy before closing his eyes and going to sleep.
One of the first films that I reviewed on this site was Bean: The Movie. After watching the Mr. Bean, the TV series earlier this year, I was in the mood to watch this again, but Netflix didn’t have it on instant and I wasn’t going to waste an actual DVD spot watching something I had already seen. That being said, I see nothing wrong with going back and revisiting it.
What is this about?
Rowan Atkinson brings his TV-based nincompoop Mr. Bean to the big screen. He arrives in Los Angeles to guard a famous painting, but as Mr. Bean is unfit for any physical task, everything goes hilariously wrong. A master of physical comedy, Atkinson pits the Brit Bean against his suspicious American hosts in a culture clash that makes for side-splitting comedy.
What did I like?
Classic Bean. If you know anything about Mr. Bean, then you are more than aware of how clumsy this man is and the ridiculous situation he finds himself getting into and thus ruining people’s lives/good time around him. The film keep that spirit of the character alive and well, which, when you get down to it, is the most important thing they had to do.
Touching. Without spoiling the ending for you, I will say that the way this family reacts to Mr. Bean is quite touching. I guess maybe I do have a heart, after all. Considering the way they had all but kicked him back across the pond because he was “different”, it was nice to see them perform a 180, even if it did take a near death experience.
Art. I have to say that it was nice to see some grand art be the main focus, as opposed to something more trivial like a diamond or some kind of jewelry. Whenever a work fo art, music, or what have you takes center stage, it is always more appealing to me, as opposed to some fleeting piece of overpriced jewelry. Throw in what Bean does to this poor painting, and you can’t help but know that they made a good choice in going with it instead of rubies, pearls, etc.
What didn’t I like?
Character. In the TV series, Bean is a bit less talkative. As a matter of fact, in the 13 or so episodes, I belive someone counted him as saying a grand total of 5 complete words! So, will someone please fill me in on why it is that when he gets on the big screen, he all of a sudden becomes a bit of a chatterbox. I read somewhere that this was the “Americanization” of what the film was originally meant to be. All I can do is shake my head at the fact that had to be done.
Comedy. The episodes had me cracking up. I haven’t seen the cartoon, yet, but it looked pretty funny, too. This film, though, has its moments, but seems to be taking itself too seriously for its own good. There is no reason that this flick should be anything but funny. Why all the drama with the family, job, etc? I just didn’t get it!
Oh. This is a very small complaint. Actually, it isn’t even a complaint, as much as it is an observation, but what in the bloody blue hell is up with Sandra Oh’s hair? She has this whole dual colored thing going that doesn’t seem to be working for her and is more of a distraction than if she were to show up to the museum butt naked. Whoever gave her that look needs to have their head examined!
Bean: The Movie is good for the fact that it brought Mr. Bean out of the cult realm and into the mainstream, if you will. However, it didn’t stay true to the character in doing so, so there is bad there as well. The film itself is about what you would expect from a short comedy such as thing. Nothing that is going to blow you away, but nothing just obscenely horrible. Personally, I wish there would have been more nods to the TV series, or if they would have stayed true to it, but that’s just me. This is a good film to check out, but I’m not going to recommend or not recommend it.
3 3/4 out of 5 stars