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Just Visiting

By Jaimie Baron | Posted

This Americanized repackaging of the1993 French farce The Visitors does nothing original but is nonetheless certain to make some bellies shake. In 11th-century France, Count Thibault Malfete and his servant Andre (Jean Reno and Christian Clavier, who both starred in the French original as well) are feasting in preparation for the count's wedding day when a witch tricks Thibault into drinking a hallucinogenic potion that makes the count slay his betrothed. Intending to send Thibault and Andre back to the moment before the killing so that they can prevent her death, a wizard accidentally sends the pair to modern-day Chicago, where they meet the count's descendant Julia Malfete (Christina Applegate), who looks just like her great-great-great . . . grandmother. Most of the film's fun comes from watching the two 11th-century men play with 21st-century toys, from electricity to toilet paper, and while the culture shock they experience is reminiscent of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure or Back to the Future, it's still funny. Jarring computer-generated animation detracts from the story, but swordplay and a good old-fashioned horse chase are more engaging. Reno's regal on-screen presence gives the film some majesty despite the trite ending.

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