Monday, April 02, 2007

Mr Bean's Holiday


Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean first burst into mainstream TV prominence in this part of the world sometime in the early 90s, where half hour episodes containing skits of that famous character cut through all boundaries with its humour - by not having Mr Bean speak (or speak minimally, and when it doesn't matter), and set in simple, identifiable premises, he's able to reach out to all, regardless of language.

It's been sometime since new material came out, and the TV episodes have been relegated help past time in waiting areas of clinics or government offices. The last big screen outing Mr Bean had, was quite painful to watch, and nothing good came out of it, especially that irritating movie theme song by Westlife which polluted the airwaves.

So why did I subject myself to the follow up movie, and possible the last Mr Bean outing in Mr Bean's Holiday? For the hope that it can bring back fond memories experienced when the television skits worked, that we can see the nonsensical, anti-social Mr Bean in his rude glory. However, it was not to be.

In summary, Mr Bean has won a local raffle, which sends him to Cannes for a holiday. In true Bean fashion, everything goes terribly wrong, no thanks to his own stupidity, and he spends more effort trying to make up for lost time in getting to the fabled beach holiday. If you really break it down, the movie contains a series of set pieces which are skits stitched together to form a feature length film. The same old bag of tricks are recycled, as you terribly need great patience to sit through yet another Mr Bean hopping tantrum.

There are rare funny moments that you can count with one hand, but nothing genuine. Most attempts at laughter were pretty contrived. Perhaps the few scenes that were fun (not funny) was Willem Dafoe hamming it up as the self-indulgent writer-director-producer Carson Clay at the 59th Festival de Cannes

Popular characters have a shelf life. Mr Bean's probably up, and it's time to put the character to rest. No point flogging an old horse to make a quick buck.

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