Atkinson is at the top of his game once again. What is continually surprising is how perfectly and seemingly easily he slips into his alter ego of Bean.
For people who love Rowan Atkinson's eccentric and bumbling character Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday is a funny, 90-minute episode that stays true to the Bean that has been around for years. The absurdity of Bean's situations and luck carry him through some of the most unbelievable encounters, giving Atkinson total freedom to show off all that his talents in all their glory.
In the movie, Bean (Atkinson) wins an all expense paid trip from dreary and rainy England to sunny and beautiful Cannes, France and the French Riviera. Bean is given train tickets, travel allowance and a digital camcorder in order to capture his exciting adventure on video. As he sets off on his trip, he inadvertently separates a world-renowned filmmaker from his son, Stephan (Max Baldry). Bean's original plans have to be set aside as he tries to reunite the boy with his father.
Along the way, Bean gets into plenty of tough positions, and comes out on top flawlessly. He meets a beautiful actress, Sabine (Emma de Caunes) who helps him get to Cannes. He also crosses paths with the self-obsessed and narcissistic director, Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe) who is also on his way to Cannes. Bean travels the French countryside by bicycle, car and on foot, always offering a kind gracias for any assistance he receives along the way.
Atkinson is at the top of his game once again. What is continually surprising is how perfectly and seemingly easily he slips into his alter ego of Bean. Every one of Bean's emotions or feelings is expressed so clearly through Atkinson's face and body contortions that when Bean actually does talk, it seems unnecessary. Watching a master comic actor embody such a hilarious character makes Mr. Bean's Holiday watchable.
Other than Atkinson's performance, there isn't a whole lot worth mentioning, aside from the beautiful scenery that is captured at every opportunity by director Steve Bendelack. The story is a strange excuse to set Bean off on a trip, but what reason would be logical for this character? Dafoe is fun to watch for a little while as Clay, but the film he is making is much more entertaining in its vanity.
Children will enjoy the movie because it's silly and adults who appreciate Atkinson will be able to handle the relatively short running time. All in all, Mr. Bean's Holiday isn't exactly a trip to the South of France, but it's also not as tortuous as a week in Boise. | Matthew F. Newlin