Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Bean (1997)
PG

Rowan Atkinson made his name with some of Britain's most hilarious features. Sadly, they're on his face - not in his filmography. Perhaps one of the funniest "Bean" scenes (recycled from the TV shows) in the film features our eponymous hero getting his head stuck inside a Thanksgiving roast. If only Atkinson had been similarly keen to extricate himself from this particular turkey.

Straplined "The Ultimate Disaster Movie", it casts literally-dumb TV favourite Mr Bean (whose small screen exploits proved silence was golden, scooping the Rose d'Or at Montreux's comedy festival) in his first semi-speaking role: as a National Gallery art curator shepherding priceless masterpiece "Whistler's Mother" to the USA and delivering - oh how ironic - a speech.

Reuniting the writer/director/actor team behind "The Tall Guy","Bean" aims to ride the resurgence of physical slapstick sparked by Jim Carrey films like "Ace Ventura", with equal reliance on bodily-function jokes. While critics were decidedly muted in appreciation, audiences lapped it up (Richard Curtis' Midas touch striking yet again).

But despite valiant attempts to bring more depth - and dialogue - to Atkinson's verbally-challenged imbecile, like subsequent TV spinoff "Kevin and Perry... Go Large" "Bean" demonstrates the misguidedness of translating comedy sketches to the big screen.

Harmlessly distracting at the outset, even kids will be yawning well before the end. Buy three episodes from the original Mr Bean TV series instead - or watch Jacques Tati's "M. Hulot's Holiday" for a silent masterclass in how it should be done.

Read more about Mel Smith's new film "High Heels and Lowlifes".

End Credits

Director: Mel Smith

Writer: Richard Curtis

Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Peter MacNicol, John Mills, Pamela Reed, Harris Yulin, Burt Reynolds, Larry Drake

Genre: Comedy

Length: 107 minutes

Cinema: 1997

DVD: 9 November 1998

VHS: 7 November 2000

Country: UK

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