Bean (1997)

bean

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1997, PolyGram Pictures/Working Title Films/Tiger Aspect Productions

Director:
Mel Smith
Producers:
Peter Bennett-Jones
Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Writers:
Rowan Atkinson (original character Mr. Bean)
Richard Curtis (original character Mr. Bean and screenplay)
Robin Driscoll (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Francis Kenny
Editing:
Chris Blunden

Cast:
Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean)
Peter MacNicol (David Langley)
John Mills (Chairman)
Pamela Reed (Alison Langley)
Harris Yulin (George Grierson)
Burt Reynolds (General Newton)
Larry Drake (Elmer)
Tom McGowan (Walter Merchandise)
Sandra Oh (Bernice Schimmel)
Andrew Lawrence (Kevin Langley)
Tricia Vessey (Jennifer Langley)
Peter Capaldi (Gareth)

Rowan Atkinson’s beloved accident-prone character comes to the United States and brings this brand of humor in what is quite a funny underrated film.

At London’s Royal National Gallery art museum, the Board of Directors are none too happy with security guard Mr. Bean, whose constant laziness and issues with accidents have forced the board to take drastic measures. With the gallery chairman on Bean’s side, the board comes up with a plan. They have made a deal with Los Angeles gallery owner George Grierson to bring the famous painting Whistler’s Mother back to the United States. They decide to have Bean bring the painting back for a two-month sabbatical.

Grierson’s curator David Langley is in charge of making sure Mr. Bean is taken care of, despite the objections of his family. Mistaken for an art scholar, Bean arrives in Los Angeles and goes about what he does best. When Whistler’s Mother is set to be presented for a major exhibit, Bean makes a potential fatal mistake for the gallery and when David discovers what Bean is all about, he goes ballistic when he has learned the mistake involved Whistler’s Mother. Will Bean finally be able to redeem himself and save the day?

Let’s just face it. You will either love Rowan Atkinson’s iconic accident-prone everyman or you will not like him so much. Even before this movie, Mr. Bean was a star in both his native United Kingdom and even in the United States with a following via his television show broadcast on HBO in the early 1990’s. This led to this film, which brings Bean to unleash his trademark hijinks in the United States.

Atkinson is quite enjoyable and if you are a fan of his work, then chances are you will really love what he pulls off, or even attempts to pull off in the film. He even gets ample support in the hilarious Peter MacNicol, who at the time was getting major props for his role on the hit series Ally McBeal. Similar to his character in Ghostbusters II, MacNicol’s character is involved with art and proves to be vital to the film. However, MacNicol is given a more reliable chance to showcase his comedic talent, especially upon his discovery of the “mistake heard round the world”. While his character is supposed to play it straight, this particular scene is just absolutely hysterical in terms of his reaction.

The film truly belongs to Atkinson and you will have to appreciate his sense of humor to get the jokes in the film. Atkinson brings his humor well, even when he takes certain riffs from his series to the big screen such as the famed “airbag” trick. There is also a scene that will bring a Thanksgiving episode of Friends to mind that is said to actually be influenced by an episode of the series, which consists another joke involving a turkey. The final act meshes some serious dramatics with Bean’s trademark sense of humor and the final ten minutes serves as sort of an epilogue to the story, but done in only the way Bean can pull it off.

Bean is an underrated comedy thanks in part of Rowan Atkinson’s trademark skits in one of his most iconic roles with some hilarious support from Peter MacNicol. If you like Rowan Atkinson and his brand of humor, then definitely check this out.

WFG RATING: B+

DVD

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