Anthony's Film Review
Funny enough to bust a gut, whether or not you have watched the TV episodes...
This review is sort of written by someone with a split personality. On one hand, I originally saw this movie in 1997 and thought it was a very funny movie. On the other hand, I later watched the original episodes of the Mr. Bean television show in the UK. I consider that even more hilarious than the movie. It's enough to sort of change my original review of the film. After some thought, I've decided to reconcile the two perspectives and address both sides.
Mr. Bean, played by Rowan Atkinson, is a stupid, clumsy child trapped in a man's body. He has the tendency to screw things up. When he does, he tries to fix them in ways that only make it worse. The movie shows us one thing that is never seen in the TV show: a job. In the TV show, all the situations he finds himself in are in his free time, as if he doesn't work for a living. Since the movie needs a plot, Bean is given a job to do. The movie begins with Bean as a security guard at an art museum. The problem: he falls asleep on the job. He falls into such a deep sleep that he falls out of his chair into a position where his rear end points upward, and he still doesn't wake up.
At this point, I should mention the negative part about the movie. If you're already a Mr. Bean fan, you will be disappointed to know that some of the jokes in the movie are recycled from the TV show. The unusual way of falling asleep comes from the first episode of the show where Bean falls asleep in a church. A later scene involves popping an airsick bag already filled with vomit, originally seen in "Mr. Bean Rides Again" but less graphic than the reused version. And later, Bean gets his head stuck in a turkey, just like in the show's Christmas episode, except he also microwaves it and causes it to explode. So if you have not watched the TV show already, this part won't be relevant to you.
But for everyone, some of the new jokes are absolutely hilarious. When Bean arrives in Los Angeles, California, he pretends to have a gun in his coat because it seems fun to do. However, airport security already decides he's a threat. When ordered to put his weapon on the floor, Bean pulls out his hand shaped like a gun and places THAT on the floor. Then again, there are jokes that seemed more tailored to the American audience, like the scene where Bean thinks extending the middle finger is a friendly gesture. That might be why the film somewhat suffers. The US is perhaps the last country in the world to import Mr. Bean, so this movie is an attempt to gain more of the American audience.
The movie also deviates from the TV show by having more interaction between Bean and other characters. Bean, instead of being fired from the museum, is assigned to escort the painting of Whistler's Mother to a Los Angeles museum. He stays with a curator at his house, even though his family thinks he is a walking disaster. Bean causes a lot of trouble, but he means well in the end. Even so, after seeing the TV show, I look back and wonder if the movie could have been better with more of Bean's teddy bear and his little yellow car. They are, after all, his two most prized possessions.
I'll stop here before I make the review too confusing. The bottom line is that Bean fans and non-Bean fans will find different things in the movie to laugh at. I do understand how the fans may be disappointed. People deserve to see what really makes Mr. Bean the lovable character he is. Still, my opinion is that I liked the movie before watching the TV show and I still feel the same afterwards.
For more information about Bean, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of Mr. Bean's Holiday and the original TV show Mr. Bean.