A&E // 1989 // 150 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // October 2nd, 2008
The phenomenon that is Mr. Bean has been covered by many DVD Verdict dignitaries comprehensively. And there is little that I can add to their comments, except for some observations about what I think makes Mr. Bean so amusing.
How is it that Mr. Bean is funny? After all, most of the time, he is sadistic, egocentric, petty, and selfish. He speaks rarely and grumbles almost inaudibly when he does. He's not someone you would want as a friend, or even pass on the street. And yet, the situations he gets himself into are consistently funny, if not outright hilarious.
I think there are three reasons why the show succeeds and why the character is so popular. First, Mr. Bean does things we all think about doing, but don't because we know it is bad or immature (e.g., sneaking to the front of a hospital's emergency room line, and stealing a stamp from a stranger's unmailed letter). Second, the cosmos always finds a way to punish Mr. Bean for his misdeeds (e.g., he loses his place at the emergency room, and gets trapped in a mailbox after stealing the stamp). The show would not work without the instant karma that occurs when Mr. Bean acts inappropriately; all that would remain would be a thoroughly unpleasant man. Third, Mr. Bean never gives up when faced with adversity. No matter how ridiculous, he finds a way to persevere (e.g., stripping off all his clothes in the name of clear television reception, and covering-up a nude model with a bra made out of clay).
There are six entertaining episodes included in The Best Of Mr. Bean: Volume 2:
"Mr. Bean Goes To Town"
"Mr. Bean Rides Again"
"Mr. Bean in Room 426"
"Back To School Mr. Bean"
"Tee Off, Mr. Bean"
"Goodnight, Mr. Bean"
What can you say about Rowan Atkinson's (Rowan Atkinson Live!, Black Adder: The Complete Collection) performance as Mr. Bean? The man is a master of physical, situational, and reactionary comedy and is just as skilled in verbal comedy as displayed in the Black Adder series. I can't think of any Mr. Bean sketch where anything could be improved. Watching the show is equivalent to seeing a master painter or virtuoso musician at work. Everything comes together: the facials tics, the gesticulating limbs, and the ridiculousness of it all.
Mr. Bean was never known for its production values. The video was never bright or colorful and tee audio never impressive. However, none of it mattered then nor does it matter here. It's all about Atkinson's performance.
The extras include four bonus sketches: "The Library," "The Bus Stop," "Blind Date," and "Torvill and Bean". These are the same bonus sketches found on the Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean box set.
Not Guilty. However, for devoted fans of Mr. Bean, the only acceptable choice is to purchase the box set rather than the two "Best Of" releases.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Sketches
* Official Site