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Film / Bean

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"The British gave him an air ticket. Their government gave him a passport. The USA gave him a visa of entry. Now, there's no stopping him. He's on his way... to America."

A 1997 theatrical film based upon Mr. Bean.

Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a rather incompetent security guard at Britain's Royal National Gallery. Desperate to get rid of him but unable to fire him, thanks to a good word from the chairman, the gallery's board sends Bean to a gallery in Los Angeles to deliver and officiate the return of the painting Whistler's Mother to the United States. Believing him to be a fine arts scholar, the LA gallery pairs Bean up with their mousy curator David Langley (Peter MacNicol) to accommodate him and ensure that nothing happens to the painting, all while Langley tries to keep his familial troubles at home under control. Naturally, everything goes wrong.

Bean would later get another movie in 2007, Mr. Bean's Holiday, which was a stand-alone sequel with little relation to this film aside from the presence of the title character and served to be truer in tone to the original series.

Bean contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Bean, having accidentally defaced Whistler's Mother, locks the door and drags a plant pot in front of it to keep out the curator. A couple of seconds later, the curator enters via another door, right next to the one Bean locked.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Bean saves the life of Detective Brutus by accidentally removing the bullet from his abdomen, without using any surgical tools, while searching for a peanut M&M he had dropped into the wound. He even puts the bullet back (being unsure it belongs in there) and then repeats the feat in front of an utterly stunned surgical team. He later manages to wake up Jennifer from her coma, after accidentally using a defibrillator on himself.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actually Pretty Funny: During his speech, Bean describes Whistler's Mother (the person, rather than the painting) as "a hideous old bat, who looked like she'd had a cactus lodged up her backside". Grierson momentarily looks perturbed, but decides against saying anything after seeing that General Newton clearly finds the remark amusing.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Bean doesn't seem to have a job in the original series. In this movie, it is revealed that he works as a security guard at the Royal National Gallery.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: David's daughter Jennifer and her biker boyfriend. It doesn't work out too well for her.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Bean reprograms a ride at an amusement park to make it more "exciting". The unlucky saps who bought a ticket are subjected to an epilepsy-inducing ride of insanity and some are even catapulted out of their seats.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: The movie somehow manages to invert it. Bean destroys a priceless historical artifact, but he covers it up by replacing it with a poster of the same painting, and cue the happy if hilarious ending. As it's really only a short-term solution however, the forgery would undoubtedly be uncovered sometime after the film's events. The original script had apparently already considered this, as it ends with someone noticing the change after the painting is slightly damaged, which didn't make it into the final film.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: David yells at his family and forces them to agree with his decision to accept Mr. Bean in their house. He regrets it later when he learns Bean isn't the doctor he expected him to be, until Bean helps him and his family, at least.
  • Bowdlerise: Television broadcasts of the film are edited to remove the part where a biker gives Mr. Bean the middle finger and Mr. Bean mimics him, thinking it's a friendly gesture (It's not, troper kids).
    • When aired on ITV and ITV2, David's horrified Cluster F-Bomb upon seeing the destroyed painting was edited and shortened.
  • Brick Joke:
    • At the hospital, Bean runs into the security guard he had drugged earlier.
    • After Bean's speech, David asks him where he put the original Whistler's Mother, but he doesn't get the chance to answer. At the very end, it's revealed that Bean took it home to hang on his bedroom wall.
    • The Flipping the Bird bit comes back again at the very end, when Bean cheerfully gives a confused David and his family the finger as he departs for the airport.
  • The Cameo:
    • One of the board members in the opening of the movie is played by Peter Capaldi, who at the time was a recognizable actor in Britain, but is nowadays most known for playing Malcolm Tucker and the Twelfth Doctor.
    • The chairman of the art gallery board is played by John Mills.
    • Teddy, Bean's stuffed toy bear that he often treats as if it's alive, makes a brief appearance at the end of the movie.
    • Burt Reynolds as General Newton, the man who donated the money to purchase Whistler's Mother.
  • Captain Obvious: When called upon to make a speech on the painting, Mr Bean's two observations are "it's quite big" and "it's a picture of Whistler's mother".
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Whistler's Mother poster seen early in the film, which the guy showing off the gift shop stuff to David makes sure to mention is the same size as the actual painting.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A variation. Upon seeing that Bean totally destroyed Whistler's Mother while he was gone, David lets out a horrified torrent of "Jesus", "Oh God", and other religious incantations/curse words;
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Deconstructed. David and Bean go to an amusement park in Los Angeles, but he finds the thriller ride simulator so boring that it puts him to sleep. Bean reprograms the ride and disables the safety features so that customers are literally thrown out of their seats at high speed. Unlike the series, the movie attaches realistic consequences to Bean's typical shenanigans: the police promptly arrest him (again!).
  • Comically Missing the Point: How Bean describes his job. His employers must have said something along the lines of "Sit in the corner and keep an eye on the paintings", but Bean clearly assumed this meant to simply look at the exhibits, as opposed to looking after them.
  • Cringe Comedy: When Bean tries to dry his wet pants with the hand dryer while making suggestive movements, one of the gallery employees comes out of a bathroom stall. They later meet again at Griersons office in one of the most awkward meetings in movie history.
  • Darker and Edgier: Though still very goofy overall, this movie has Bean risking more serious repercussions than he's used to (see deconstruction below for details) and there are several jokes that are more adult than the ones on the show, hence the movie's PG-13 rating.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Downplayed. Where Mr. Bean's suffered next to no consequences for his antics in the series, they manage to land him in trouble with the authorities at several points in the film, though in keeping with his status as The Fool, he still always manages to get out of these situations through the same brand of antics and offbeat ingenuity that got him into them in the first place. However, Bean's foolishness does have dire consequences for David, nearly costing him his job and his family before Bean sets everything right.
    • It doesn't help that in the TV series, citizens are usually apathetic to his antics. Here? Not so much. In fact, Bean got a lot of belligerent looks from a lot of people throughout the movie due to his antics. Much of this is due to the fact that Bean spends most of the movie in America, where the concept of a Stiff Upper Lip is typically frowned upon and the lack of a culturally-mandated Weirdness Censor results in people being more openly weirded out by those who deviate even slightly from the norm, which doesn't help the almost alien-like Manchild that is Bean.
  • Description Cut: Just as the security guy is saying "With the system we've put in here, nothing'll touch that painting short of an earthquake", the viewer can see on the security monitors that Bean is clumsily removing it from its hanger.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Subverted when Mr. Bean is forced to give an improvised speech on the Whistler's Mother painting. After fumbling for a bit, he handles the speech quite well, although it lacks any meaningful content. General Newton and much of the audience just appreciate Bean's straightforward remarks on The Power of Family. The characters who might have been offended take it as dryly comical ribbing at their earlier request not to have a boring lecture of art history, and maybe insert a joke or two into the speech, since they assumed Bean to be a stereotypical British academic.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: After David learned that Bean isn't actually a doctor, he tries to ask Bean if Leonardo da Vinci was an American basketball player to figure out whether Bean knew anything about art. Considering what they're talking about at the time, most sane people would realize it's a trick question and would immediately answer no, even if they knew next to nothing about Leonardo and basketball. Yet Bean is blissfully clueless that it's not even a genuine question and innocently answers yes, which drives David into a mild depression for the rest of the night.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After Bean destroys Whistler's Mother, he and David start frequenting L.A. bars to drown their sorrows. Later on, after Dave gets Exiled to the Couch on the night before the ruined painting is due to be revealed, a depressed Bean can be seen sat in the kitchen, sipping milk from the carton with a straw.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Kevin hanging out with Bean while the latter is up late at night and despondent over the destruction he's caused over the past few days — during which, he tells him that he has "some great posters of Cindy Crawford on his wall"is what gives Bean the idea to use a modified poster of Whistler's Mother to replace the destroyed painting.
  • Flipping the Bird: Upon being given the gesture by a biker he annoys, Bean misinterprets it as a friendly one (note that Britain typically uses an "inverted V-sign"— that is, a peace sign with the back of the hand facing outward— in place of the middle finger), and then proceeds to give it to everyone he sees.
  • Format-Specific Joke: The film ends with a post-credits gag of Mr. Bean sitting in a cinema, saying that he stays after the credits as well.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Get a close look at Bean's passport and you'll see that his first name is actually "Mr."
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: The board at the Royal National Gallery except for the chairman unanimously wishes to fire Bean for being the worst employee in the gallery's history with the secretary being overjoyed at the idea. The reason Bean was sent to America in the first place is that it's an alternative to firing him because the chairman threatened to resign otherwise.
  • From Bad to Worse: Bean tries to use lacquer thinner to remove the ink stain he's left on the painting, which he succeeds at — but at the cost of also removing the paint from the woman's face.
  • Genius Ditz: Bean has the mentality and overall intellect of an elementary school kid, but he shows a surprising level of intelligence in a couple of scenes, such as his ability to reprogram the amusement park ride settings, and his clever (and temporarily successful) effort to salvage the damaged painting with a poster and some everyday household items.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Zig-zagged. Just after it seems Bean and David have resolved the Whistler's Mother fiasco, Detective Brutus appears, leading them to think the police discovered what they did to the painting. He's actually there because David's daughter Jennifer got caught in a motorcycle accident.
    • A shorter one happens after Bean successfully cleans the snot and ink stains off Whistler's Mother using paint thinner, revealing clean unblemished paint underneath... only for the paint itself to start dissolving a few seconds later, irreparably destroying the masterpiece.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The chairman of the board of Royal National Gallery is protective of Mr. Bean, insisting that he remains employed and threatens to resign if the board tries to fire him, referring to him as a "splendid young man" even though Bean is considered the worst employee in the gallery's history for sleeping on the job and annoying his colleagues. This is before his disastrous actions at the Grierson Gallery.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: David's pre-teen son Kevin establishes one with Bean over the course of the film.
  • It's All About Me: A lot of Mr. Bean's attitude for the first half of the movie shows that he only cares about his well-being or how he looks (such as when he's more concerned with his wet pants rather than the board meeting between David and his colleagues) and how he's insensitive to David's rocky marriage and career. Even after David learned that he's not a doctor, Bean doesn't care about what David thinks of him when David asks him to act rationally. It's really not until he ruins the painting that Bean is starting to realize how destructive his behaviour to other people really is.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While the board at the Royal National Gallery dislike Bean and are being rather underhand at wanting to get rid of him, they are not wrong that Bean is a terrible employee.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Bean, as per the TV show.
  • Karma Houdini: Bean does at least have a couple of brushes with the law, but he still escapes any serious consequences for his actions, particularly his destruction of Whistler's Mother. However, destroying the painting was due to a series of accidents — Bean trying to clean dust of the painting and sneezing, trying to wipe the painting clean when unfortunately ink had leaked on his handkerchief, etc. — and if it had been revealed, it's pointed out David would have most likely been fired.
  • Laxative Prank: Mr. Bean does this to a security guard, along with mixing up the key to the bathroom with a bunch of other keys, giving him a chance to fix the painting of Whistler's Mother that he accidentally screwed up.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Bean's stealth mission to the Gallery.
  • Magical Defibrillator: In the words of the "novelisation", "all you have to do is put the round things on someone's chest, yell 'Clear!' and then they come back to life!... But I thought I'd better try the round things on my chest first." - which launches him through the air to land on David's daughter Jennifer (who was in a coma following a motorcycle accident) and accidentally revive her. Admittedly residual electrical current in Mr Bean might have helped there but it's still crazy (though electricity always did act weirdly around Bean).
  • Mistaken for Profound: When Bean has to describe his job to someone, he states that his job is to "sit and look at the paintings". The audience at the Whistler's Mother unveiling ceremony is impressed by it, thinking that his job is philosophical in nature and involves analyzing things like the message and emotions the artist was trying to convey with their art, when in reality, all Bean meant that he was a museum security guard and not a very good one at that. Not helping the fact is Bean's aforementioned description. He clearly isn't aware that his job is to look after the paintings.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The whiplash is only accentuated by Wet Wet Wet "Yesterday" playing in the background, only to be interrupted by David and Bean screaming.
    • When Bean successfully cleans the snot and ink off Whistler's Mother with paint thinner, he has a face of intense relief and gratefulness while hopeful music gently plays. He turns away briefly to put the paint thinner back on the shelf, a Scare Chord plays as it's revealed the painting itself is dissolving and Bean enters full-blown panic (and for an art-lover is legitimately hard to watch).
    • After rushing to get the destroyed painting back to its viewing area, he reluctantly shows it to David, where a comical face has been drawn over the blank canvas and David has a hilarious breakdown.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In the process of waiting for the shower to warm up, David is silently lamenting over his wife and kids vacating his house because of Mr. Bean, which is set to Wet Wet Wet's "Yesterday". David then prepares to enter the shower, then "Yesterday" stops when it turns out Bean had got in the shower first.
  • Mythology Gag: The turkey scene (which is an even more blatant reference to the equivalent scene in the show in the American edition of the movie) and Bean popping a bag he is unaware has vomit in it, not to mention Bean's jiggery-pokery with the simulator ride evokes the sneaky way he got a great deal on a recliner.
    • Mr. Bean falls asleep on the job at the art gallery and slowly slides out of his chair in the same way he did during the Boring Religious Service in the TV series.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After his antics not only get David to be estranged from his family but risking his job as well, Bean becomes dejected. He manages to fix both issue by the end of the film.
  • Nervous Wreck: David, most notably demonstrated in his reaction to Bean's bastardization of the Whistler's Mother painting.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Exaggerated. While standing around waiting in the hospital, Bean is dragged along by a nurse to perform a surgery after she notices the "Dr. Bean" label on his suit. Bean is too taken aback to correct her, but then again, he's not even a non-medical Doctor.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • After using lacquer thinner to clean the ink stain off the face of Whistler's Mother, Mr. Bean has this reaction when he sees that the area melts into a bubbly mess. His reaction gets worse as he tries to stop the paint from melting, but only defaces the painting in progress. David is also extremely horrified when Bean shows him the ruined painting (as well as his "restoration") and is immediately worried about what's going to happen if the gallery staff, the public and General Newton find out on the day of the unveiling.
    • Mr. Bean gets immensely nervous when told he's about to give an analytical speech about Whistler's Mother.
    • Once Bean's speech is over, Detective Brutus arrives and wishes an audience with Bean and Langley, with the latter two believing their tampering with Whistler's Mother have been caught.
    • A silent one from Detective Brutus when he wakes up in the middle of his surgery and realises that his surgeon is Bean. He just faints from the shock.
  • Oven Logic: Bean and David try to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey (which normally takes about five hours) for an impromptu dinner with some guests by stuffing it into a microwave, and setting it at about 20 minutes at the highest setting. It explodes.
  • Paper-Bag Popping: In a gag reused from the series, Bean tries to amuse a boy sitting next to him on the plane by blowing up his airsickness bag and popping it to wake up the sleeping passenger in front. While Bean tries in vain to blow up the bag, the kid gets sick from turbulence and throws up in his bag. Bean sees the full bag, thinks the boy blew it up for him, and pops it. In the TV version, the show ends before the pop; here, we see a close-up of Bean's reaction to the result, with bits of vomit flying by from the bottom of the frame.
  • Patriotic Fervor: General Newton, who's only memorable quote is him blatantly admitting that he doesn't have any interest in art. He just bought Whistler's Mother because he's disgusted at the idea of Europeans having any claim over America's greatest painting.
  • Phony Degree: An inversion. In order to foist him upon the Americans for a few months, the National Gallery of Britain and two of their prominent art historians give Bean a glowing recommendation, so the Americans assume he is an academic doctor. Bean himself is oblivious and does try to correct people, but in the end he stops bothering.
    Bean: I'm Dr. Bean... apparently.
  • Prison Rape: David hysterically imagining getting prosecuted for negligence:
    David: I'm gonna go to jail... I wind up on death row, sharing a cell with Butch McDick.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Bean virtually destroys a priceless work of art, replaces it with a cheap copy and then steals it as well, yet ends up as a hero for it. Granted, the only other person aware of what he's done is David, who isn't exactly pleased about it, but can't say anything as this would at best just cause him to lose his job, and at worst see him facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Mr. Bean is sent away to the unveiling of Whistler's Mother in the United States at the urging of most of the British National Gallery's board. This is done as an alternative to firing him, which they cannot do because the chairman of the board is actually fond of Bean.
  • Scare Chord: When the painting itself starts to dissolve after Bean's attempts to clean it, a long, shrill and anxiety-inducing chord is heard.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A rather obscure one. The announcer's patter in the baseball game that's on the TV as Bean and David drink in the bar — "Smith corks one down the line!" — is Jack Buck's famous call from Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship Series, rerecorded by an actor.
    • Bean accidentally dropping an M&M into the police chief's body undergoing surgery heavily resembles the "Junior Mint" episode of Seinfeld, which involves a similar situation, but with the titular candy instead.
    • The opening scene of Bean hurriedly mixing all of the ingredients of his morning coffee into his mouth on his way out the door is recreated from a scene in Rowan Atkinson's first staring role on the TV special Canned Laughter.
  • Shower of Awkward: David turns on the shower and then sits on his bed for a while contemplating his worries. When he enters the shower, he finds that Bean decided to take one in the meantime. They both freak out, but David is forced to answer the phone while all this is happening. Unfortunately for him, Bean answers it first and when the caller wants David, he cheerfully states that "yes, he's just here in the shower with me!".
  • The Stinger: After the end credits, Mr. Bean passes by, telling the audience that just like them, he also stays until the credits finish. He then walks off-screen to the right and comes back, stating that it's now the end of the movie, and tells them to leave whenever they want to. When he leaves again, he goes back the other way, as this was where he was initially.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Mr. Bean has changed from being a combination of The Voiceless and The Unintelligible to speaking freely, and gave a speech before a crowd near the end. The premise of the movie sort of forces it, though, since Bean interacts with several characters who speak directly to him (no one ever really did in the original program).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bean spends much of the first half creating problems with his foolish antics and nearly destroys an innocent man's life in the process. Then he fixes it by hatching a plan to break into the art gallery and stealing and replacing the original painting without anyone else being the wiser.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The board of the Royal National Gallery sends Bean to America as an alternative to firing him but they never imagined he would destroy an artistic masterpiece or almost ruin someone else's life.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bean with David Langley. David constantly bickers with Bean because of the latter's bizarre antics, but they eventually become good friends. Bean describes David as his "best friend" in his big speech, and David admits to his wife Allison that despite everything that's happened, he's grown fond of Bean. Bean even gives him a Bear Hug before going back to England.
    David: I don't know what to say about Bean. He is clearly a force ten disaster area... but God help me... I like him.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: As usual for Mr. Bean, after a series of misunderstandings, he ends up in an emergency room in a doctor's outfit, at which point the other doctors and nurses expect him to retrieve a bullet from the police chief's body. As soon as he does (before and after some Squick), amazingly, his flat lining vital signs immediately stabilize, at which point he regains consciousness, and is apparently going to be just fine afterward. Cue applause and exaggerated swooning from the doctors.
  • Wet Blanket Wife: David's wife Allison isn't all that unreasonable in not wanting Bean to stay with them, but immediately taking the kids to her mother's place and later threatening to leave David for good over the matter does seem like a bit of overreaction. Even worse that she already acts like this before actually meeting Bean. Allison changes her tune at the end of the film after Bean saves her daughter Jennifer, who was in a coma following a motorcycle accident.


Video Example(s):


Mr. Bean Cinema Policy

To promote the "Bean" movie, the Movieplex chain of cinemas made a policy trailer featuring Mr. Bean smoking from a cigar, a pipe and a hookah, talking on a mobile phone, operating a vacuum cleaner and serving cocktails. Of course, all of that were taken away since smoking, using alcoholic beverages and talking during the performance are all strictly prohibited in a theater.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoTalkingOrPhonesWarning

Media sources: