A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids are sure to giggle at Mr. Bean's ridiculous mugging and all of this comic farce's falls, accidents, and treacherous near-misses. Although the movie doesn't have much dialogue (you don't really need it to keep up with Bean's broad humor), what little there is, is mostly in subtitled French (or Russian), which could be tricky for kids who aren't yet proficient readers. And a few moments could be scary (a faux military attack on a quiet village, for instance) if kids aren't good at distinguishing real from imaginary.
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What's the story?
In MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY, Rowan Atkinson returns as the accident-prone simpleton who's completely out of his depth in the sophisticated, high-tech world in which he lives. This time out, Londoner Mr. Bean wins a dream vacation to the glorious French Riviera. Along the way, he's inadvertently (but no less directly) responsible for separating Stephan (Max Baldry), a bright and appealing young boy, from his caring father, Emil (Karel Roden). Chaos and mayhem follow as Mr. Bean tries to get the pair back together. In incident after incident, Mr. Bean makes all the wrong choices and all the wrong moves, until good fortune and Sabine (Emma de Caunes), a beautiful French actress, smile on him and lead him and Stephan to their happy endings.
Is it any good?
This film is directed and performed in a way that's reminiscent of a silent movie; most of the laughs come from the talented Atkinson's rubber face, wide eyes, and clueless behavior. It's slapstick in some places, parody and satire in others.
This Mr. Bean film features moments of uproarious humor -- as well as scenes that are repetitive, go on too long, and have a "seen-that-before" aura. Sequences in which Mr. Bean encounters a giant prawn in an elegant restaurant, tries to earn money as a street musician, and lets all of the hot air out of auteur film director Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe) in a Cannes Film Festival screening room are works of comic genius. Other scenes -- say, when Mr. Bean gets stuck in a tiny shack, or leaves something vital behind by mistake (again) -- are less-inspired. Bottom line? Audiences who like their laughs with subtlety and wit will find a lot lacking. But fans of Mr. Bean won't be disappointed. And kids of all ages who idolize Wile E. Coyote will be charmed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between animated violence and cartoonish, live-action violence that features real people in dangerous situations. How do you know when something "violent" is meant to be funny and not scary or real? Why does Mr. Bean get in so much trouble? Does he mean to cause so much damage? How does he feel when he realizes what he's done?
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