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Bean: The Movie Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 November 2002


Polygram Video
MPAA rating: PG
starring: Rowan Atkinson, Peter MacNicol, Pamela Reed, Harris Yulin, Burt Reynolds
release year: 1997
film rating: Three stars
sound/picture: Three stars
reviewed by: Abbie Bernstein

Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean character started life as the star of a series of short films. Created by Atkinson and writer Richard Curtis, Bean-the man is surpassingly weird-acts so bizarre that he's compelling to watch as, sometimes by prank and sometimes by sheer accident, he wreaks havoc on his surroundings. In 'Bean,' the odd little klutz has a job at a British art museum, which involves sitting and doing nothing. Bean's employers are so desperate to get rid of their human disaster area that, seeing an opportunity to get rid of him at least temporarily, they pass him off as an art expert and ship him off to America. Bean doesn't even make it out of the airport before he begins to make his U.S. host's life utter hell.

It's ironic that 'Bean,' one of the few DVDs to commendably feature close-captioning for the hearing-impaired, functions almost as silent slapstick. The visual humor is somewhat evenly divided between Atkinson's unique style of physical comedy-there's not another character anywhere who moves exactly like Mr. Bean, and Atkinson makes each feature of his face seem capable of independent action-and sheer grossness, with the gonzo turkey-stuffing scene in Chapter 7 as one of the milder examples. If there was ever a movie that could survive without language, this is it. (Though fans of verbal wit can forward up to Chapter 12 in order to hear a wonderfully blunt bit of art criticism.)

The look of 'Bean' is intentionally on the garish side. The best sights and sounds can probably be found in Chapter 6, when Bean sabotages a thrill ride. The film relies more on its gags than its (perfectly competent) technical aspects. Screenwriters Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll are inventive and director Mel Smith shoots the jokes for maximum impact, but 'Bean' often feels like a series of sketches strung together thematically, rather than a narrative with a through-line. For Bean-philes, the film will be pure joy, for others, it may be like watching a marathon of comedy shorts packed too closely together. In this respect, seeing 'Bean' on DVD has a great advantage to watching it in a theater; viewers can stop when they've had enough for one sitting and return when they're ready for more instead of having to overdose by seeing it all at once.

more details
sound format:
Dolby Digital English: Dolby Pro-Logic; English: AC-3 5.1; English Closed-Captioning; French Dubbed AC-3 5.1; Spanish Subtitles
special features: OMC "I Love L.A." Music Video; Theatrical Trailers; Digital Mastering; Interactive Menus; Film and Cast Biographies;
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Kenwood DV-403
receiver: Kenwood VR-407
main speakers: Paradigm Atom
center speaker: Paradigm CC-170
rear speakers: Paradigm ADP-70
subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10
monitor: 27-inch Toshiba

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