Becoming Jane

Starring Rowan Atkinson, Emma De Caunes, Willem Dafoe and Max Baldry. Directed by Steve Bendelack.
Running Time:
Rated: Rated PG. 93 minutes.

Comedy comes in many forms, from black comedy and satire, to slapstick and farce. Most popular are the clowns, whose behaviour releases the child in all of us. Rowan Atkinson's 'Mr Bean' is hugely popular because he is a gross parody of this secret self, and while Bean can be winsomely endearing (in bed with his teddy, for instance), he is most like us when he gleefully gets his own way, or his best intentions backfire, and he is forced to skedaddle.

Despite the commercial success of the first Mr Bean movie, Bean (1997), which was scripted by Atkinson and won new audiences for his dysfunctional alter ego worldwide, this foray into cinema lacked the gags and zany logic of Mr Bean's embarrassing behaviour that made the half-hour Mr Bean series such addictive viewing when it first appeared on British television in 1990.

Mr Bean's Holiday, on the other hand, which owes more than a little something to Jacques Tati's vintage classic Monsiuer Hulot's Holiday, has a far more entertaining storyline, and is better paced.

Mr Bean's Holiday begins with Bean winning a hotly contested trip to the French Riviera at a church raffle, and it is this notion of a journey from rainy England to sunny France that provides the structure for a string of cleverly conceived visual gags and mishaps, all held together by the joke that Mr Bean can only reach his destination by the most circuitous route.

Bean begins his holiday by boarding the Eurostar to Paris, and on arrival at the Gard du Nord, steps immediately into someone else's taxi, which takes him to the wrong station. Unfussed, and all the time filming himself with a video camera also won as part of his prize, Bean sets his compass in the direction of the Gare de Lyon, and reaches it in no time at all by walking like an automaton over the tops of cars, leaving traffic chaos in his wake throughout Paris.

Having missed the Cannes train, Bean then walks into the nearest restaurant for a snack. This is a posh and expensive eatery which has French character actor Jean Rochfort playing a bemused but polite ma

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