Did we watch the same movie??7/10
Here's the deal: Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has panned Mr. Bean's Holiday for being unfunny, a cow milked dry, same old same old, blah blah blah. Either these people just don't have a sense of humour, if I may be that harsh, or they didn't even see the flick and just reviewed it based on the weak trailer and their own false assumptions. I on the other hand have seen this movie and I can honestly say that it blew me away. It is not only about ten times better than its weak 1997 predecessor (which the film wisely ignores completely), it is a genuinely great movie. It's a feel-good movie which actually makes you feel good (!!) and never turns into awkward sappiness. It is also absolutely hilarious and, thank god, unlike the original movie this one doesn't recycle gags from the TV series.
The basic story is that Mr. Bean wins a ticket to Cannes, where he accidentally separates a young boy from his father. Bean must help the kid find his father again. The plot is hardly the focus of the film, though - it's all about Bean and the often awkward, often painful, and always funny situations he gets himself into.
Rowan Atkinson is at his absolute best and I think it's about time he gets an Academy Award. No, I'm serious. If you think playing Mr. Bean is just a matter of goofing around and making stupid noises, I'd like to see you do it. Atkinson has developed this character to absolute perfection and is the only one who could possibly play the lovable idiot. The over-the-top body language, the facial expressions, and the convincing vibe you get from Bean that, well, the lights are on but there's nobody home - you can't bring all of this to a character if you're not a good actor. Rowan Atkinson is a genius and, like most comedians, he never gets the recognition he deserves.
The supporting cast is good as well, especially Willem Dafoe as an art-house director with his head so far up his own ass and an ego so ridiculously huge he makes Roger Ebert look like Adam Sandler. But this is really Atkinson's show and he carries the entire movie, as expected. The sight gags and physical humour aren't exactly intellectual, but they are very funny and fresh most of the time and the comedy is, well, kind of classy. There's absolutely no toilet/gross-out humour (which I love, by the way), so it's really a mystery why the stuck-up critics disliked this as much as they did - assuming they even watched it. Although the humour is pretty "safe" most of the time, it never stops being funny and I can safely say that this is a film that the whole family can enjoy (and trust me, I don't often say that about movies - "fun for the whole family" usually translates to "fun for the average two-year old, torture for the rest of humanity" in my mind). It's not just kiddie stuff and the comedy is universal.
It's a sweet, warm-hearted and very funny movie with a great soundtrack, good performances, a light plot, and a fantastic ending. Which leads me to the question: "Did I and the critics watch the same movie?" Perhaps Willem Dafoe's obnoxiously pretentious character hit just a little close to home for the snotty critics the film so obviously spoofed? They can have their "Playback"-type films and gush praise over them all they want - I'd take this holiday over that any day.