Making Hay On The Holiday: “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”

In my view, the facial play of Rowan Atkinson, who enacts Mr. Bean in Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007), is more over-the-top than funny, but he grows on you.  And this movie grows on you.  It grew on me, anyway.  It turns out to be an appealing slapstick farce, its titular character bungling his way across France.

Sometimes nicely helpful, Mr. Bean is also intermittently unscrupulous when he gets in a jam—and so deserves every problem he incurs.  In short, he’s recognizably human.  And despite the facial play Atkinson’s portrayal of him is wonderfully droll and vigorous.  The leading lady, Emma de Caunes, is charming.

Although funny, much of what happens at the Cannes Film Festival in Holiday is pretty hokey, but the picture serves up some unusual comic invention in a scene such as the one where Mr. Bean as busker lip-synchs to Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro.”  Even better, more hilarious, is the Harold Lloyd stuff with the bicycle pursuit and the startling making of a yoghurt commercial.  Here the movie really makes antic hay—just what we want from a visual comedy.  It instantly becomes less important that Mr. Bean is recognizably human than that he is pratfall-funny.

Cover of "Mr. Bean's Holiday (Widescreen ...

Cover of Mr. Bean’s Holiday (Widescreen Edition)

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