Rowan Atkinson, better known as Mr. Bean is possibly the last great clown. He’s not as well-known these days as he was 10 to 15 years ago when his British TV show Mr. Bean was making its rounds through the U.S. I hope this blog post will serve as a reminder that this comedic mastermind is still out there and still very funny.
I happened upon a movie of his, a few nights ago, that I didn’t even know existed. It’s called Johnny English Reborn. This is apparently the late coming sequel to Johnny English, released back in 2003. I thoroughly enjoyed that movie way back then, and I always assumed it was a one-shot deal. When I found “Reborn”, I was a little bit wary, only because it’s always a bad sign if I’ve never heard of a movie. I may not get to watch a whole lot of movies these days but I still keep up with what’s being released. Somehow “Reborn” slipped passed me. It turned out that my wary’ness was for naught. Johnny English Reborn was brilliant, just as I would expect anything starring Rowan Atkinson to be. The Johnny English character is much more subtle and almost normal compared to Mr. Bean, at first glance. However, the brilliance of Rowan Atkinson is twice as obvious with Johnny English because his comedic timing as he gets himself in and out of funny situations is as hilarious as ever with minimal use of his rubbery face and body as was often the case with Mr. Bean. Here is a scene from Johnny English Reborn, just to give a taste of the movie and how this character differs from Mr. Bean.
I highly recommend either of the Johnny English movies for anyone who likes a clever well-written and perfectly performed comedy. The only other movies I can compare them to are the Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers. All of Rowan Atkinson’s movies are appropriate to watch with kids too. Always a plus for me to laugh along with my wife and kids as we watch a movie together.
All of this praise for Johnny English is not to in any way put down Atkinson’s most famous character, Mr. Bean. Anyone not familiar with this character need only look him up on YouTube and sit back and enjoy. Note that there was very little if any talking in the Mr. Bean segments from the BBC TV show. There have been very few comedians who could pull off the kind of physical yet subtle humor that exemplifies Mr. Bean. The only ones that come to mind are Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Carol Burnett, and occasionally Benny Hill. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone. Please send a comment if I have. These names along with Rowan Atkinson are the true clowns that have made it into our mainstream entertainment over the last 100 years. They represent pure humor – no sensationalism, no sexual humor, no violence, they don’t depend on embarrassing someone else to be funny – they’ve given their lives to make us laugh. For that, I am grateful.
Below is a classic Mr. Bean segment for any newcomers to this loveable character, or for someone who needs a reminder of how funny he is. Watch and enjoy.