Follow TV Tropes


Film / Bean

Go To

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 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 little truer 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.
  • Actor Allusion: Peter MacNicol knows his way around a painting.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: David's daughter and her biker boyfriend. It doesn't work out too well for her.
  • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bowdlerise: Television broadcasts of the film are edited to remove the part where a biker flips Mr. Bean the middle finger and Mr. Bean mimics him, thinking it's a friendly gesture (It's not, troper kids).
  • Brick Joke: At the hospital, Bean runs into the security guard he had drugged earlier.
  • The Cameo:
    • One of the board members in the opening of the movie is played by Peter Capaldi, who is nowadays most known for playing the 12th Doctor on the TV series Doctor Who.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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;
  • 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.
  • Description Cut: The security guy claims "With the system we have here, nothing will touch this painting" — cut to Bean accidentally defacing it.
  • 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. However, Bean's foolishness does have dire consequences for David, nearly costing him his job and his family before Bean sets everything right.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Surprisingly averted when Mr. Bean is forced to give an improvised speech on the Whistler's Mother painting. He handles the speech quite well, although it lacks any meaningful content. 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.
  • 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, and then proceeds to give it to everyone he sees.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Inverted. 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 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.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Kevin establishes one with Bean over the course of the film.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Bean.
  • 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 Literary Agent Hypothesis "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 (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". Both David and the audience at the Whistler's Mother unveiling ceremony are 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: See Shower of Awkward below. The whiplash is only accentuated by The Beatles' "Yesterday" playing in the background, only to be interrupted by David and Bean screaming.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: David is silently lamenting over his wife and kids vacating his house because of Mr. Bean as the Beatles' "Yesterday" plays. David then prepares to enter the shower, then "Yesterday" stops when it turns out Bean is also in the shower.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Rowen 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 here in the shower with me!".
  • The Silent Bob: Though his few bits of dialogue are significantly more articulate than the short, mumbled phrases he'd usually say in the series (presumably to make the character more tolerable for feature-length), Bean remains mostly mute. At the end, he's forced to deliver a completely improvised monologue about Whistler's Mother, and every word clearly sounds like a struggle.
  • 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bean with David Langley. Discussed by David while talking to Allison, his wife:
    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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The real Whistler's Mother. David does ask Bean what he did with it, but they get interrupted before he can answer. In the final scene it's revealed that Bean took it home to hang on his bedroom wall.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: