Mr. Bean’s Holiday

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is attending a raffle. Mr. Bean wins the raffle and claims his prize. The prize is a holiday involving a train journey to Cannes, a Sony video camera, and €200. Bean proceeds to film his trip to the French Riviera beach on the video camera.

Accidentally taking a taxi from the Gare du Nord railway station to the arch at La Defense in Paris, Bean is forced to make his way on foot, literally walking through Paris (with disastrous effects) towards Gare de Lyon from La Défense to board his next train towards Cannes. He misses his train when his necktie gets stuck while trying to buy a sandwich from a vending machine. Discovering that a back-up train wont leave for 1 hour, he has time to try some French food at Le Train Bleu restaurant. Not knowing how to speak in French and not understanding the waiter’s suggestion, he accidentally orders oysters and langoustines, which he cannot bring himself to eat. He pours the oysters into a nearby lady’s handbag and eats a whole lobster without removing the shell.

Back on the platform, Bean asks a man, who happens to be a Cannes Film Festival jury member and Russian movie critic Emil Dachevsky (Roden), to use his camcorder to film his walking onto the train. By the time they are done, the TGV is about to leave. Although Bean manages to get onto the train, the doors close before Dachevsky can get on. Dachevsky’s son, Stephan (Max Baldry) is left on board by himself. Bean attempts to befriend Stepan, who gets off at the next stop to meet his father. While confronting a threatening stranger who approaches Stepan, Bean accidentally misses the train’s departure, leaving his bag aboard. The train that Stepan’s father has boarded does not stop at the station, and he holds up a mobile number which reads 06-08-08-07-97, but the last two digits are covered by his fingers. When their efforts at calling the number prove fruitless, they board the next train, accidentally leaving Bean’s ticket, passport and money behind which results in the duo being forced off the train. They ask a lady for money to try and contact Stepan’s father, but still, they are unable to reach his father. Then a security camera takes a picture of Bean and Stepan. The station master falsely sees Bean and Stepan vandalizing the phones and chases them out of the station.

Bean attempts at busking by miming to Puccini’s O mio babbino caro (sung by Rita Streich) and other music prove successful in a shopping area. Bean buys two bus tickets to Cannes, and some food to eat on the way, but loses his ticket when it gets caught in the breeze and then snagged in the talon of a chicken, which is subsequently loaded into a farm pick-up. Bean steals a nearby bicycle and follows the pick-up, only to reach a large chicken pen with no hope of finding the ticket. While he is on the farm, the bicycle is run over by a passing tank. Ironically, a van with Stepan in it passes by when Bean accidentally locks himself in a public loo. After attempting to steal a moped and almost getting killed by a passing truck, Bean falls asleep in a village but wakes up to realize that he has stumbled onto a set for a 1940s film. His video camera battery dies but while recharging it, he accidentally blows up the set, injuring the director Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe).

Hitchhiking, Bean is picked up by actress Sabine (Emma de Caunes), whom Bean encountered at the commercial filming, driving the same car as Bean. She is on her way to the 59th Cannes Film Festival where Carson Clay’s film in which she makes her debut is going to be presented. When they stop at a service station, Bean finds Stepan in a café. Continuing to drive to Cannes, Bean finds Sabine’s cell phone, which gives him an idea to try and contact Stepan’s father, but yet again, they still are unable to reach him. When Sabine falls deeply asleep on the way due to Bean accidentally activating a lullaby on her cellphone, he drives the car himself happily, finally reaching Cannes.

When Sabine goes into a fuel station to change for the premiere, she watches TV news depicting Bean as Stepan’s kidnapper and Sabine as an accomplice. On their way, they pass a billboard saying that Stepan was missing and Bean was wanted with the picture of Bean and Stepan the security camera at the train station took. Confronting Bean, he explains he is “going to the beach”. Not wanting to miss the premiere, the three plan to get into Cannes without being identified. Stepan dresses up as Sabine’s daughter, while Bean dresses up as Sabine’s mother. They manage to get past the police and Sabine arrives at the premiere on time.

The three sneak into the premiere, “Playback Time”, a shameless vanity production written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Clay himself. From the first few moments, the audience is horribly bored. Sabine tells Bean that her big scene is coming up, but is disappointed to see that her role has been cut from the film. Hoping to cheer up Sabine, Bean goes to the projection room and plugs his video camera into the projector. The ensuing scenes, heavily featuring Sabine, fit director Clay’s narration. Emil then sees footage of his son and claims that Bean stole Stepan despite not seeing that he is enjoying the videos. Bean walks on stage nearly arrested as Stepan is finally reunited with his father. The audience gives a standing ovation for what they believe to be part of Clay’s movie. Clay’s initial anger fades and he embraces Bean and takes credit for the film’s success. After the screening, Bean leaves the building and goes to the beach, encountering many of the other characters including Sabine and Stepan. The film ends with Bean and all the other characters of the film miming a large French musical finale, lip-syncing the famous song by Charles Trenet, “La Mer” (Beyond the Sea).

In a post-credits scene, Bean writes “FIN” on the wet sand using his foot. He films it until the camera says “low battery” again, then the sea washes the words away and the camera turns off.

REVIEW:

Mr. Bean, the lovable, silent, bumbling guy who always finds himself in bad, yet comical situation returns to the big screen with Mr. Bean’s Holiday. True, no one was really asking for this film, but is anyone really going to complain about a character that does nothing but make people smile?

What is this about?

The hapless Mr. Bean takes a vacation on the French Riviera, where he becomes ensnared in an accidental kidnapping, discovers romance with a lovely actress at the Cannes Film Festival and manages to give a pompous movie director his comeuppance.

What did I like?

Bean…Mr. Bean. One of the biggest complaints everyone has about Bean: The Movie is that it changed who Mr. Bean was and tried to make him into more of a joke, rather than the comedic figure he really is. Thankfully, this film returns Bean to his Chaplin-esque roots. The silent antics and nearly undecipherable language are what he is known for. Not to mention the accidental way he gets into trouble and has things happen to him, good and bad.

Partner. While it may not have been the best of circumstances, bringing in the kid for Bean to have chemistry with was a stroke of genius. Not only do they work well together, but he gives the audience someone who can actually speak, even if it is in Russian. As their relationship grows, it becomes apparent that Bean actually cares for this kid. Who would have thought a Mr. Bean movie would dabble in getting deep, huh?

Language barrier. So Mr. Bean speaks, when we can understand him, English. The kid talks Russian. Enter cutie French chick who drives the same kind of car as Bean and she talks French. In real life these 3 wouldn’t be able to get a word in for trying to figure out what they are saying, but it turns out that the filmmakers made for some great comedic moments when they are talking and they think they are saying something that is the total opposite of what they have actually said. I could have done with more of this, it was hilarious.

What didn’t I like?

Clayface. Man, Willem Dafoe is one strange looking man, isn’t he? It like his face is made of clay or some other strange substance that hardened wrong. Anyway, I question why or how they brought him in for this. First off, he is the only name actor, even though you can make a case for Rowan Atkinson. Second,  his character isn’t exactly material worthy of Dafoe, which makes me wonder if he owed someone a favor, lost a bet, or just genuinely wanted to take on this role.

Camera. For this vacation, Bean is given tickets to Cannes and a video camera. For me, the hand-held camera shots were cute at first, but after a while it got old fast. I’m not sure why because it was actually a good gimmick. I just felt that it was overused to the point that it took a bit away from what they were trying to accomplish by using it.

Film Festival. This is actually a small complaint, but it is still a complaint, nonetheless. When I think of Cannes Film Festival, I think of many celebrities in attendance, and yet there were none in sight. I realize the budget may not have allowed for it or that no one wanted to, but it just seems as if they could have made up some if the latter was the case, rather than have it come off as just a screening.

Everyone needs to take a holiday once in a while, even Mr. Bean. Mr. Bean’s Holiday is a fun film featuring the titular character, but something seems to holding this film back from being the hilarious masterpiece it should be. Parts of it really work and parts of it don’t quite gel the way it feels they should. All that aside, this is a decent flick that everyone will find something to latch onto and enjoy. This isn’t the best film in the world, but it is watchable, so check it out!

3 4/5 out of 5 stars

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