Slapstick, but gross-out humor.
  • Review Date: May 12, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable



Comedic references.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are some sexual references. Younger kids may miss the suggestiveness of Bean's pelvic gyrations when he is trying to dry his pants in the mens' room. But a young boy says that he can't sleep because he keeps thinking about naked women and asks what an intrauterine device is. There is a modern version of "Whistler's Sister," featuring a nude. Bean gives people "the finger," thinking it is a friendly gesture. Grossness includes an exploding vomit bag on the plane, a very wet sneeze onto a painting, an overdose of laxatives, and a candy dropped into an open incision, washed off, and eaten. Bean and his American host (Peter MacNicol as David Langley) respond to disaster at work by going out to get drunk. Langley's wife and children respond to disaster at home by leaving. His daughter is in a motorcycle accident and it is not clear whether she will be all right.

What's the story?

Frustrated with his work as an incompetent guard at an art museum, but unable to fire him, Mr. Bean's supervisors send him to a U.S. art gallery as an "expert," to speak at the unveiling of "Whistler's Mother."

Is it any good?


One of the classic set-ups for comedy is what I refer to as the "Cat in the Hat" plot -- one or more "normal," somewhat bored characters find their lives completely (and yet somehow enjoyably) disrupted by a free- spirited character who has what a modern psychologist might refer to as "sloppy impulse control." This is the basic premise of BEAN, starring Rowan Atkinson's cult favorite, Mr. Bean. Bean is something of a throwback to the classic silent film comedians, a childlike man who is unabashedly consumed with enjoying himself, and incapable of considering the consequences for others. In an effort to make the character more appealing to a U.S. audience, the producers have sent Mr. Bean to Los Angeles and to actually have him not only trying to solve the problem he creates but even hugging someone. The result is uncomfortably uneven.

The plot is an excuse for what is really a series of slapstick sketches (on an airplane, in a kitchen, in a hospital, and of course in the art gallery) involving very little dialogue, but many funny faces and physical contortions, and a lot of potty humor and general grossness. This movie will be most successful with kids who are already familiar with the character and appreciate that kind of humor. Other kids may be very uncomfortable with the gross and embarrassing situations. Kids may enjoy knowing that Atkinson did the voice of Zazu in The Lion King (but adults will remember him as the malapropish vicar in Four Weddings and a Funeral).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different attitudes toward art, and about Bean's "solution" to the problems he creates. Parents may want to point out that Bean is upset by the guns carried by the police because British police don't carry guns.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 1, 1998
DVD release date:November 5, 2002
Cast:Burt Reynolds, Peter MacNicol, Rowan Atkinson
Director:Mel Smith
Studio:Universal Studios
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:moments of risque humor

This review of Bean was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byLongRangeShadow October 15, 2009

Funny Movie

this movie is hilarious. Rowan Atkinson is a great comedian, he does a fantastic job playing the weirdest movie personality I think I've ever seen.
Parent of a 13 year old Written byohya August 6, 2010

take this as a PG movie

should have been rated PG
Adult Written byNot Availbile April 9, 2008

Excellent Peice Of Cinema

Language: One Finger Gesture Sex: Mild References Violence: Moderate, Slapstick Very Strong Social Behaviour Review: This Film In Terms Of Excellence Is Very Strong I Must Admit, There Is Some Very Funny Mishaps And The Stupid And Just Dumb Mistakes Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) Makes Is Unbeavibly Funny. As A Professinal Film Critic and Film Jonerlist Myself This Film Has Very STRONG social behaviour in my eyes and lOSES marks becauase of lACK oF story but apart from that it is Very Strongly Recomended


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide