Monday, 17 March 2008

No Bean

It's a flying visit. Tonight I made the unfortunate mistake of thinking I could guarantee a night of laughter by watching 'Mr. Bean's Holiday'. I'm now hastily arranging a late night showing of Jacques Tati's 'Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot' in an attempt to remind myself of the kind of film I wanted to sit down and enjoy.

The problem with Bean, and I think this applies to the TV series as well as to the films, is that it's not true to its concept. I grew up watching great (and relatively recent) silent comedies such as Eric Sykes' 'The Plank'. My admiration for Sykes never diminishes and, in my mind, he remains Britain's most undervalued comic great. One of my favourites (though not a Sykes film) was 'A Home of Your Own', which ended with an inept stone mason inscribing a statue's plaque with the immortal words: 'this erection was made possible by pubic response'.

In comparison, Mr. Bean always disappoints me. Bean's failure is that he's not really silent. Because he inhabits the normal world, his own antics make him appear simply odd, if not seriously disturbed. This latest film version is terribly low on inspiration. The gags are weak, the script horribly sentimental, and the plot non-existent. Worst of all, there's an underlying wish to be seen to be doing something better than the usual prat falls. When Steven Martin uses Charles Trenet's classic 'La Mar' in 'L.A. Story', it perfectly captured the tone of the film as magic edged out reality. Here, the song is overused and the end of the film is a mess of sentiment, absurdity, and meaningfulness. It makes me so miserable to see another bad British film. I really hated it and it is now a Frenchman's job to cheer me up. I have no doubt that he will.

16 comments:

mutleythedog said...

I am afraid I have lost track of your meanderings this weekend. Are you dissing Mr Bean? I would have thought the ability to gurn and having legs made this a classic British comedy act.. though I always preferred the other one.. you know the tall one who talks like a lady..

Mrs McAvoy's Buzz said...

He is perhaps the most disturbing man on the planet. I have shivers going down my spine just thinking about him, that or I'm cold as I'm simply not wearing enough clothing. AAhh the benefits of working from home!!

bertas said...

Oh I love Tati... I found him hilarious when I was younger for some reason (like primary school I still dont understand why), although Bean did manage to extract a few titers out of me as well... does that make me common? :)
Anyhow, I only saw one Bean movie and didnt like it much... series were a bit more palatable to my taste, but still what I liked best was that Rowan Atkinson live performance... if you want real laughs I'd suggest Robin Williams live on Broadway...
Now if that does not cheer you up Richard old chum nothing will :)

Richard Madeley said...

Mutley, yes. 'Dissing' is the word. The film is terrible and I stand by that. I'd 'diss' it some more if I had the time.

Mrs. Mcavoy, Bean does give me the creeps, though I generally like Atkinson's work. I can't get but feel that he's making poor use of his talents making that rubbish.

Bertas, Tati is so good. It's in the small things he does. You have watch really carefully because the jokes aren't always apparent. There's a scene in 'Les Vacances' in which a waiter stands by the door as guests come into the dining room. As each guest arrives, he cuts a piece of meat exactly the right size for the person. It's such a brilliant gag but so subtle. The whole film's like that.

I too like Rowan Atkinson's solo work. It's just Bean that I think is a bit poor and basically a cash cow. I also love Robin Williams. I have that performance on DVD. There's nobody better than him when he's firing on all cylinders.

Swearing Mother said...

How can it be that as Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson makes my skin crawl, but in Black Adder (especially when he wore that beard), well, let's say he had an entirely different effect.

bertas said...

Swearing mother, I agree there is something decidedly dishy about Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder :) Must be his cunning ways... or something :)

Oh Richard you did see Robin Williams? :) I think that is truly one of the funniest things I have ever seen, I actually had to watch it a few times to catch everything, he can be so fast sometimes...

Mrs McAvoy's Buzz said...

touche dicky, touche!

The Twitch said...

Dick...why not try out some silent comedy sketches on your blog?

mutleythedog said...

Have you ever seen the cartoon version of Mr Bean? - now that is just straight forwardly cashing in.. oddly as a cartoon Mr B is slightly less horrible...

lee said...

Please excuse the crassness that I'm about to utter:I think that Mr Bean is a dickhead and it he makes me wish that Rowan Atkinson had never been born. That's all , really.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

So, not worth a bean, to carry the pun further?

Editor said...

I'm with you on this, I don't get Mr Bean, he gives me the creeps too!

The Silent Twitch said...

Dick...don't overdo the silent comedy...or at least add subtitles to it. Happy Easter.....did you get any ood eggs?

bertas said...

Hey Richard old chum hope you are ok... :)
I do hope you are working on your comedy rather then ignoring us on purpose :P

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