MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY (Steve Bendelack). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (August 24). Rating: NNN
Oh, Rowan Atkinson. So wonderfully caustic as Edmund Blackadder, so multi-talented at stand-up, yet you will, like Peter Sellers, be forever remembered as your stupidest character.
Ten years after his first big-screen outing, Mr. Bean is back. This time he's won a trip to Cannes during the film festival, where the common French-English misunderstandings are complicated by the fact that Bean speaks very little of any recognizable language.
Flailing his lanky limbs and stretching his rubbery face in ways that would make even Jim Carrey cringe, Mr. Bean, as usual, leaves a path of destruction in his wake as he pursues his own selfish desires. That he harms himself a good deal as well and actually attempts to help some of the people he meets along the way makes him more sympathetic.
These include the son of a Cannes juror (Max Baldry), a gamine French actor (Emma de Caunes) and an American film director (Willem Dafoe, happily taking the piss out of serious artistes everywhere).
While the film has its share of laughs - an early scene in a snooty French restaurant is a standout - and clocks in at an audience-friendly 90 minutes, it does prove that Bean goes down best in TV-sized half-hour portions.