THE CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com), Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper (Ebert & Roeper and the Movies – Buena Vista TV), Michæl Brendan (criticallyill.com), Bob Graham (San Francisco Chronicle), Lou Lumenick (New York Post), Andy Seiler (USA Today), Susan Stark (Detroit News
* * * out of 4 stars (PG-13)
When I left the movie Just Visiting, I felt I wasn’t just visiting. I was having a blast with this time-travel comedy. But as usual, there are critics who felt they wasted their time traveling to see this film. Just Visiting is a movie about a 12th century French nobleman, Count Thibault of Malfete (Jean Reno) and his servant Andre (Christian Clavier). Thibault accidentally kills Rosalind (Christine Applegate), his future bride. He attempts to go back in time to bring her back, but a wizard’s faulty time-travel potion sends Thibault and Andre forward in time to modern-day Chicago. To his surprise, Thibault meets Julia, part of his lineage, who looks exactly like Rosalind.
Michæl Dequina (filmthreat.com) said, “There’s a huge lapse of logic at the core of Just Visiting. If Thibault killed Rosalind, they would have never had the chance to start a lineage and hence Julia should not exist.”
Michæl. There is a huge lapse of logic at the mere thought of time travel in and of itself. And since when did you become the king of cosmic rules regarding the future? It’s possible that Julia exists because Thibault will eventually succeed. Thus she would be alive in the future. Besides, why overanalyze the time travel element in a film as goofy as this? Just have fun!
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun Times) and Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) really go at this week on “Ebert & Roeper and the Movies” (Buena Vista TV). Roeper said, “This was a terrible movie. It’s a fish-out-of-water.” He goes on to condemn the comedic elements of the film (toilet jokes and various other crude/slapstick fun) and said he didn’t laugh once.
Ebert passionately responds, “They used the comedy of situation and personality in order to show these people they’re trying to deal with the modern world in their own medieval, steadfast, sincere, funny way! I think you’re out to lunch.”
Out to lunch, Roger? I think Roeper went fishing without his pole. Something stinks and it’s not fish-out-of-water.
Michæl Brendan (criticallyill.com) said. “‘Just Visiting’ is a movie that is funny part of the time, charming part of the time, but sloppy and rushed most of the time.”
And it’s pretty clear here, Michæl, that you don’t get it right all of the time. This movie is funny and charming because Reno and Clavier work so well together. And they should since this movie is a remake of the French version “Les Visiteurs” (1993). While Clavier reminds me a lot of a Dudley Moore, Reno is the real magic in this film. He is the epitome of “noble.” It transpires so brilliantly and you really believe he is from the 12th century.
Bob Graham (San Francisco Chronicle) commented: “The formidable Reno (“The Professional,” “The Big Blue”) holds the film together with his unwinking gravitas as a knight trying to get a handle on modern life but proudly sticking to his old ways.”
Clavier is especially funny and when you find him driving away at the end of the movie, you wish you could go with just to see what happens to him next.
Lou Lumenick (New York Post) said Malcolm McDowell “is terrible as a bumbling wizard.” Andy Seiler (USA Today) said, “Christina Applegate could be funny on ‘Married …With Children,’ but playing two roles here she is as bland as she was on Jesse.”
Andy and Lou couldn’t be more wrong! McDowell was a hilarious wizard, especially after he blew himself up; and Applegate surprised me. First, that she landed this role. Second, she was good!
Susan Stark (Detroit News) summed the movie up best: “An uncommonly delightful comedy for the family audience.”
This is one movie where a sequel would be appropriate. I hope we will get to visit Andre and Thibault one more time.
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Posted on April 16, 2001 in Features by Herb Kane
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- JUST VISITING
- WILL QUAID TURN “THE ROOKIE” INTO A PRO?
- ALL EBERT ONLINE, ALL THE TIME
- THUMBATHON: EBERT’S OVERLOOKED FILM FESTIVAL (part 7)
- ROGER EBERT IS A BAD ASS.
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