Mr Bean’s Holiday (IMDb.com movie page)
My Rating: A- (Almost Perfect); ONLY because it pales in comparison to Johnny English.
By: Universal Studios / Working Title Pictures / StudioCanal / Tiger Aspect Pictures
Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Willem Dafoe, Emma de Caunes, Jean Rochefort, Max Baldry
Directed by: Steve Bendelack
When I saw the review in HT, where Vinayak Chakraborty said this movie was ‘Bean there done that’, I was sort of disappointed. He blasted it for using old jokes. Never mind, assholes that most critics are, I walked out satisfied out of the theatre. In what apparently will be the last appearance of Bean, a few scenes used old jokes, but it fitted in well – it’s really nostalgic. Seriously, the only thing Vinayak Chakraborty ever does is tell us which movies the actors have acted in earlier, which movies the director has directed earlier etc. It seems from the bloated face on accompanying photo that all he does when he goes to watch a movie is gorge on some complimentary nachos thrown in by PVR. In contrast to what he said about it being ‘totally slapstick’, I found it very engaging and funny, with loads of hidden jokes and sarcasm.
The story is about Bean who wins a raffle and wins a holiday to France, along with a Sony handycam. He goes there (and you’ll see some amazing raw cam footage throughout the movie), and after much ‘traveling’, reaches the station. There he makes a Russian jury member of the Cannes Film Festival get separated from his son, and the son then takes revenge by making Bean miss his train at a later station. The rest of the movie is how the duo try to get to Cannes after Bean has lost everything, and it’s one wild fun ride from there. I won’t tell more of the story beyond that, because it’d spoil all the fun… ;)
I have to admit that this movie will NOT be liked in India – simply because the majority of the movie going public here aren’t comfortable by the style adopted by the movie. I, on the other hand, simply LOVE the style. In contrast to the first Bean movie, this one has almost NO dialogs – it’s more about Bean and his antics, which remain funny and fresh as usual. What I liked even more though is the mix-match of camera footage, and handycam footage from Bean’s camera. Sony does excellent brand placement in the movie (remember Casino Royale? THAT was brand overkill by Sony…), and you’d really want to buy a Sony handycam by the end of it. After all, who thought that a Sony handycam can go on for hours and hours recording all the time, needing only a small 15-20 minute break after more than 24 hours? My, it has so much storage too then I guess. :p
Anyway, besides that error, the effect of a story being told through Bean’s viewpoint using the handycam footage is really engrossing, BUT that it EXACTLY why people won’t like it in India. The OTHER reason why it’ll not be liked in India is because the crowd won’t GET most of the jokes. For example, one oft-repeated joke in the movie is when Bean say ‘Gracias’ (it’s Spanish) whenever he has to say ‘thank you’, and my laughter was pretty much echoing in the hall because apart from me, only a handful of other people got it. Now THAT is a dampener. And believe me, there were MANY other moments when the crowd didn’t GET the joke [shakes fist in consternation].
A thing about the music (or Rach will pester me to death) – thankfully, it’s not cheesy like the ones on the TV series, or the first Bean movie. Frankly, I found the soundtrack on the above two mildly irritating, but this one doesn’t make that mistake. You’ve quite a few stretches without much distracting soundtrack in this movie.
Rach kept on asking me what “William Defoe’s role” was in the movie. I don’t know about ‘William Defoe’, but Willem Dafoe had a part in the film as famous actor-director Carson Clay. Sample this funny moment at the Cannes Film Festival (in the movie, that’s where Bean ends up at) where his new movie is being shown – the movie starts, and the intro credits are: “a CARSON CLAY production [pause] of a CARSON CLAY film [pause] featuring CARSON CLAY”. Dafoe hasn’t much to do in the movie, except show how moronic some directors are. Watch out for this scene, because this is one of the MOST hilarious in the whole movie, because this is when Bean crashes in and while the audio is of Clay’s movie, plays his own footage from his camera. Listen to the dialogs and correlate them to the video on screen, and it’ll have you ROFL. Act like the typical Indian movie-goer (which means “Don’t pay much attention to dialogs”), and you’ll find it boring.
Mr Bean’s Holiday is a fitting end to the Bean franchise (maybe?) – it’s is wildly funny, and yet, at one level, thought-provoking. It definitely has an undercurrent about a narrative on human nature. Rowan Atkinson may have found Bean to irritating and overpowering to continue with, but he definitely shines through in this one, as he always does. This is one movie which you’ll like if you get sarcasm without much thinking, otherwise, you’ll end up with a feeling that you were robbed at the box office. And I just LOVE the raw footage!
And then, I’m getting really irritated with PVR. When I went to watch 300, they had had some major problems. Similar things happened when I went to watch Bean – they gave a bloody TWENTY minute long interval TEN minutes before the movie ended, during which my tongue was as dry as parchment as I couldn’t leave to get my refill. Also, one thing I don’t like about theatre crowds is that they empty the hall in a few seconds, and I always like sticking around for the credits, but have to move before I can see them because the guards / employees think I’m some lunatic as I’m always the last to leave. Sigh.