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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Bean

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Peter MacNicol
Director: Mel Smith
Rated: PG
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: November 1997
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Harris Yulin, Pamela Reed, Burt Reynolds, Richard Grant, Andrew Lawrence, Tricia Vessey, Priscilla Shanks, Peter Egan

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Marty Mapes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

BEAN, featuring the antics of slapstick comedian Rowan Atkinson, opened first in Germany and Portugal, where it was a big hit. Atkinson with his almost mute acting shtick grunts a lot in the movie but speaks very little, probably no more than a hundred words in the entire picture. His style of comedy lives or dies based upon how funny you find his exaggerated physical humor.

Atkinson became famous in Britain and elsewhere with his "Blackadder" television series. American audience may know him best as the tongue-tied priest in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.

Although his fans may find BEAN well worth their time, others may find this 1:30 film about 1:27 too long. There is probably enough humorous material in BEAN for a "Saturday Night Live" skit, but as a full-length movie it does little more than provide an opportunity to get to know your watch better. The dull and relatively ugly cinematography by Francis Kenny does not help break the film's tedium.

Rowan Atkinson plays a guard named Mr. Bean who works at the National Gallery of Art in London. When the board, who views him as the worst employee they've ever had, is unable to fire him, they pawn him off as an art expert to the Grierson Gallery in Los Angeles. The Grierson Gallery, thanks to a generous donation, has purchased "Whistler's Mother." "Dr." Bean is supposed to speak at the picture's unveiling.

Burt Reynolds, in one of his many throw-away roles, plays the museum's benefactor, General Newton. "I don't know the difference between a Picasso and a car crash," he admits.

The curator of the Grierson Gallery, David Langley (Peter MacNicol), takes the crude Dr. Bean to stay with his family. After his wife, Alison (Pamela Reed), meets this guy with spastic lips, bug eyes, and the ability to destroy precious objects in nanoseconds, she leaves town and takes the kids.

Alison is the smartest one in the film and the only one who had the good sense to walk out. Let me give you a flavor of the brand of humor which the movie relishes. We have Bean with a cigarette lighter up his nose one time and tissue stuck up it another. He bursts a full barf bag over one of his fellow plane passengers. He makes obscene gestures at strangers from his car. And mainly he makes several variations of the classic funny face in which one contorts every facial feature.

"Stay here and do nothing," advises David as his cure for the disaster prone Bean. "If you do nothing, nothing can go wrong." Bean, of course, ignores this advice. So we get more grunting and grimacing.

At the end, when David is finally able to end his troubles, and mine, by putting Bean on a plane back to Britain, David has one parting thought. "You could come back and visit anytime in the fairly distant future," he says. I agree -- very distant.

Copyright 1997 Steve Rhodes

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