Mr. Bean's Holiday
You can't name a movie "Mr. _____'s Holiday" without consciously trying to evoke Mr. Hulot and his beachside vacation. But while there's no measuring up to the Jacques Tati original, there's something about Mr. Bean's trademark buffoonish pantomime that encourages hope of a worthy homage. Things look promising when Bean (Rowan Atkinson) wins a trip to Cannes in a church raffle--he's initially disappointed that his ticket "616" isn't the winning number 919--leaving dreary London for all manner of comic obstacles thwarting his progress, some as paltry as an intimidating seafood platter, while some are as grave as trying to reunite a lost boy (Max Baldry) with his father. Disappointingly, the screenplay is stingy with the gags, separating the few jokes that work with long, unamusing stretches of Bean noodling around with his video camera in POV shots that do have a payoff at the movie's climax , but not one big enough to justify the boredom in between. The movie is rated G (a designation that apparently encompasses Nazi jokes and burning oneself with a car cigarette lighter), but the ratings board missed the kiddie scare factor of an increasingly long in the tooth Atkinson mugging and gerning his frighteningly wrinkled face in gigantic closeups. Factoring in that the equally gargoyle-y Willem Dafoe has a bit part, the MPAA may want to consider a new qualification for the PG.