Because an evil rival slips poison into his wine cup, Count Thibault of Malfete's (Jean Reno) toast to his intended union with the lovely Princess Rosalind (Christina Applegate) goes abruptly wrong. Whilst under its influence, Thibault turns insane and kills the bride-to-be. When sentenced to death for his actions, his dimwitted servant Andre (Christian Clavier) frantically attempts to put things right by enlisting a wizard (Malcolm McDowell) to bring the lady back from the dead.
But Mr. Wizard refuses to grant that request, offering instead to send Thibault back in time so he can do things differently. Unfortunately, the wizard has only a few moments to concoct the potion and mistakenly leaves out an ingredient. Consequently, Thibault and Andre find themselves launched from the 12th Century into present day Chicago where they meet Julia (Applegate again), a descendant of Thibault's who has just inherited the Malfete estate. With Thibault believing Julia is Rosalind, and Julia assuming Thibault is her late cousin who isn't dead after all, the script presents plenty of obstacles besides the obvious question of how will the Frenchmen ever return to their proper place and time.
Just Visiting is based on a 1993 French film titled Les Visiteurs, which involved both Christian Clavier and director Jean-Marie Poir0xE9 in penning the script. I'm sure it was hoped the American version would be able to recreate their European success. Yet, deciding to add John Hughes and his love for slapstick silliness to their writing team may have been a mistake--Clavier's clowning appears to be more than capable of delivering laughs (watching his character master the conveniences of a modern kitchen was the high point of the movie) without Hughes' trademark bumbling bad guys.
While most of the violence is played for comedy, people do get stabbed and the computer animated monsters and body decompositions may disturb young viewers. The unnecessary inclusion of profanities, rude gestures, and sexual innuendo will also deter the matinee adventure crowd from just visiting this film.