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Mr. Bean's Holiday

In an age of frantic, overly silly comedies, Mr. Bean's myopia and his everyday mishaps recall the gentler and more subtle work of Chaplin, Keaton and Tati.

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The nearly mute and always hapless Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) wins a holiday to Cannes. In a refreshingly simple set-up, he loses his ticket and must bumble his way across France, encountering a lost Russian boy, buskers, chickens, a World War II tank, a pretty actress and even a pretentious film director (Willem Dafoe). Mr. Bean also won a video camera, and for a time, I was irked by the director Steve Bendelack's incessant use of its footage, but the whole thing comes together marvelously in a final set piece that riffs on film, Roberto Benigni and audience expectation. In an age of frantic, overly silly comedies, Mr. Bean's myopia and his everyday mishaps recall the gentler and more subtle work of Chaplin, Keaton and Tati. Their heir apparent Atkinson remains a gifted and astonishingly limber physical comedian, and Holiday is marked improvement over his 2003 spy-spoof stumble Johnny English. In English, and some French and Russian, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Aug. 24.

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