Making the Grades
Put on a 15 minute platter, Mr. Bean, the latest comedy star of British television, is a hilarious snack. Alas, like so many other successful short subjects (ever seen an Ernest movie?), at 90 minutes Rowan Atkinson's character becomes hard to digest.
In the film, Atkinson (a la Bean) plays an incompetent security guard for a prestigious art gallery in London. The gallery's board wants to fire Bean, but when the aging director says no to the idea of axing his favorite employee, they instead choose to send Bean to the United States for three months. There he will be a guest lecturer in conjunction with the purchase of Whistler's Mother by a major gallery in Los Angeles. Because Bean rarely talks and knows nothing about art, he is in a bad spot. As if he can't do enough damage at the gallery, the script has Bean staying with the curator's family, where he drives everyone out of the house with his crazy antics.
Compared to the couple of Atkinson's television shows that I have seen, my impression is this movie contains a far greater degree of objectionable content for families. A poster of a nude woman seen from the side, the sex-obsessed 10-year-old son of the curator, and Bean's sexually suggestive overdone antic of trying to dry his trousers in front of a washroom hand dryer will have some parents diving for the fast forward button. Those concerned with religious values will not be pleased with another scene when the curator's reaction to one of Bean's escapades is loaded with terms of Deity.
If you're yearning for Bean, you may want to look for some of Atkinson's television episodes which are available on video and sometimes on the PBS network. Many of them are really funny, but preview them before you share them with your family so you can pick out and discard any bad beans.