As an attempt to get him out of the country, security guard Mr Bean is sent to Los Angeles to help watch over a precious painting. But the gallery mistake him for an art expert - and foolishly increase his responsibilities.
Mr. Bean, the accident-prone, faintly irritating goon who gives Rowan Atkinson the chance to use his rubber-faced, nay bodied abilities to full effect, barely sustains the laughs over a 30 minute sketch show, never mind a movie. So the fact that the result is not only consistently entertaining, but frequently laugh-out-loud funny, comes as a very pleasant surprise.
The plot has Mr. Bean working as a security guard at the National Gallery, where unsurprisingly, he's not much cop. When an opportunity arises to get rid of him by packing him off to Los Angeles, the gallery seizes it eagerly. There he is to work at a monumental unveiling ceremony for a painting worth $50,000,000.
Once in the City Of Angels, Bean soon crushes the idyll of his host family (MacNicol, Reed) and charges around with all the finesse of a liberated zoo animal. But the LA gallery reps (who mistakenly believe him to be London's finest art scholar) put his bizarre behaviour down to genius and foolishly leave him alone with the painting. Given the sheer number of visual gags, it's inevitable that some of them fall flat. But thanks to a decent script, other characters are given room to breathe rather than just letting the latex-mugged protagonist take centre stage.
The set-pieces are for the most part hilarious (Bean's attempt to dry his trousers after an accident in the men's room proves a high point), and the sensibly short running time prevents things from wearing thin.
Atkinson performs to perfection, giving his alter ego some much needed personality (Mr. Bean turns out to be rather smarter than in previous outings and even gets a few lines) and making him strangely likeable.
Daft, certainly, but in the end this makes for a delightful diversion, largely because it's far better than anyone could have imagined.