Mr. Bean goes West. Unfortunately, along the way he seems to have lost a bit of his English flair. Of course, there's still plenty of toilet humor, which seems to have some odd audience appeal and travels well across the Atlantic. Mr. Bean is, of course, the famous (usually, to date, silent) character created and performed by Rowan Atkinson. If one researches the success of the British TV series, not to mention the accompanying sale of books and videos, one realizes the extent of the 'Bean' phenomenon. In fleshing out the character for this 90 minute film, writers Curtis, Atkinson, and Driscoll do their best in attempting to retain the mayhem and humor of the original idiotic Bean stances, but the nightmare creature we are so familiar with suffers somewhat from the addition of too much humanity. Amazingly enough, in going from two dimensions to three, it has lost some of its dimension.

© Polygram Filmed Entertainment Distribution
© Working Title Production / Tiger Aspect Films

The premise of the film is: what would happen to 'Whistler's Mother' if Mr. Bean got his hands on her? The answer, to put it simply, is in the watching. Atkinson is supported by a team of actors including Burt Reynolds (in a cameo), Pamela Reed, and, most noticeably, Peter MacNicol. (It looks like every time MacNicol is placed in an art museum something is bound to go wrong, but this time around the demon responsible is Mr. Bean.)

Director, and longtime associate of Atkinson, Mel Smith has taken over the steering wheel on this project. (I suspect both Mel and Rowan are hoping to make it even bigger on American turf with this vehicle.) Smith (who has himself resided in Los Angeles), in reflecting on the new Stateside Bean, says, 'He looks like a complete outsider. He wears the same jacket, the same tie and the same trousers that he does all the time, and here everyone is hanging around in leisure suits in pale blue and white. He looks so wonderfully out of place.' Although the TV series Mr. Bean has been broadcast on PBS in the States, awareness of the renowned character is not as wide spread as in the U.K. The creators have obviously worked so hard on giving this feature length version of Bean an American appeal, that one can only wonder if the box office receipts will reflect their efforts. Who knows, perhaps Bean will now become a household word in America too.

The trailer for this film claims, very effectively, that it is the ultimate disaster film. This is an unfortunate choice of advertising approach since the plot of the film is much milder than one is led to believe. During production, on the other hand, rain held up shooting, wet green rabbit pellets substituting for grass gave off toxic gas (and even wound up burning one crew member with its sludge), the museum location turned spontaneously into a boiling greenhouse during sunny weather, hot winds destroyed segments of set, a three-day fire made a location inaccessible, additional shooting permits had to be obtained, roads were closed due to muddy landslides, and a warehouse utilized for interior set location was experiencing leaks as well as sound interference during rainy spells. One would think that Mr. Atkinson might have contemplated making a film with Mr. Bean about the making of the film with Mr. Bean and really wound up with the ultimate disaster movie.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett