On Screen: Mr. Bean’s Holiday | Facing the Giants

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 I Just Saw It: Mr. Bean’s Holiday

I took my younger son Addison to see “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” over the weekend. I was mildly amused but generally disappointed in the film, which wasn’t as funny as “Mr. Bean,” the first feature-film release of Rowan Atkinson’s oddball Brit from a decade ago. The difference between the two films was that the first film had more of a storyline. The humor in “Mr. Bean” came from both Atkinson’s daffy physical comedy and the situational comedy made possible by the story, which centered around the famous “Whistler’s Mother” painting. In “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” the story is watered-down by the lack of dialogue. The three main characters speak three different languages – English (when Bean speaks, which, as you can imagine, isn’t often), Russian and French, which takes away from, rather than adding, to the movie.

The story centers around Mr. Bean’s botched vacation trip to the French seaside, and there’s one mishap after another. But the lack of vocal interaction between the characters means that almost all of the comedy is physical. If you can’t get enough of Atkinson’s rubbery-faced goofing, then this movie offers you plenty. But if you tire of it quickly, this movie will have you checking your watch by the time your popcorn’s gone.

There were some genuinely funny moments and a few laugh-out-loud scenes, but overall it was unsatisfying. Atkinson’s sense of comedy is keen, but the story and script leave you wanting a better movie-going experience. It’s not a bad film if you want to take the whole family – there’s a refreshing lack of profanity and all the other elements making trips to the theater an exercise in frustration. But in the end, you’ll be ready to head for the door long before the final credits roll.

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On DVD: Facing the Giants

Josh Smith, our interim advertising director, has been raving to me about “Facing the Giants” and has even used it an staff training with the ad department. I’d heard plenty about the moviewhen it was released, but we missed it during its big-screen run. And even though I’d purchased it on DVD when it was released awhile back, we didn’t watch it until this weekend.

The most amazing thing about “Facing the Giants” is the story behind its production. You can read a behind-the-scenes account of how the film was developed and produced here:

 http://www.facingthegiants.com/dvdabout_bts.php

Our whole family enjoyed the movie, which tells the story of a lackluster football team at a Christian high school – and the revival of the team, and the school, after a crisis in faith faced by the team’s coach (portrayed by Alex Kendrick, who also wrote the script and in real life is the associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in southwest Georgia).

For a low-budget, almost all-volunteer cast and production team, the movie is surprisingly well done. I tend to watch movies with a pretty critical eye, and in the first 20 or so minutes of this film, I thought I’d ultimately be disappointed because I was distracted by its lack of cinematic appeal. That didn’t last long, though. The quality of the production, and the spirit of “Facing the Giants,” captured me in time and provided a wonderful movie experience. I heartily recommend it.

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