As a Bean fan, my reaction to this movie may be somewhat biased. I can’t even look at this character without laughing, and I admit watching the Mr. Bean television shows as many times as they were shown in my area. I may be drawn to Bean because I’m such a klutz myself, but I’m convinced Atkinson is a comic genius like Charlie Chaplin. Playing Bean, his twisted facial expressions and bizarre body language are so expressive that he needs no dialogue to let us know what Bean is thinking most of the time.
Did Mr. Bean’s Holiday live up to my high expectations? Despite Bean’s disgusting misadventure with a type of food I always avoid, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” I loved the simple plot: Bean wins a trip to France and a camcorder at a raffle, is responsible for separating a young boy from his father, tries to unite the two, meets a lovely actress, and ends up as all the rage at the Cannes Film Festival. However, like all of Bean’s exploits, it’s not the plot that counts; it’s the way he responds to everything that’s so darn funny.
For example, when our naïve hero loses his wallet and passport in this second movie outing, he attempts to raise money by dancing (and I use the term loosely) in an outdoor market area, hoping people will toss money at him. He fails, of course, so he resorts to lip-synching opera and becomes an instant favorite of the crowd. This is one of the funniest sequences I’ve seen in a movie all year!
Providing Atkinson with strong support are Max Baldry as the youngster Bean wants to reunite with his father, Emma de Caunes as the French beauty who befriends Bean, and Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire) as the self-absorbed filmmaker Bean upstages. The appealing Baldry shines in an amusing scene where he teases Bean while they’re sitting together on a bench. Besides being easy on the eye, the delightful De Caunes projects an inner beauty, and Dafoe is simply terrific in a very unsympathetic role here. The reactions on Dafoe’s face during his character’s pretentious film premiere at Cannes are absolutely priceless.
Although Bean seems destined to do the wrong thing -- or the right thing in the wrong way -- his heart is in the right place, and Lady Luck sometimes takes pity on him. That’s probably why Mr. Bean ends up with a very happy holiday after all.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “G” for brief, mild language.)
Review also posted at ReelTalk Movie Reviews.