Knightly Jests and Jousts
Release Date: April 06, 2001
Audience: Teenagers to adults
Runtime: 86 minutes
Distributor: Hollywood Pictures/Buena Vista/Disney
Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Executive Producer: Richard Hashimoto
Producer: Patrice Ledoux & Ricardo Mestres
Address Comments To:Michael Eisner, Chairman/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Buena Vista, Caravan, Hollywood, Miramax, & Touchstone Pictures)
Peter Schneider, Chairman
Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
The plot is simple and predictable, but the story isn’t the point — it’s simply a vehicle for a constant stream of farcical humor. The movie stars French comedians Jean Reno and Christian Clavier as a 12th-century knight, Count Thibault (Reno), and his servant, André (Clavier). In a bid to escape a witch’s curse, a wizard gives them a potion that hurtles them through time to the year 2000. They emerge in a museum, where the resident Middle-Ages expert, Julia Malfete (Christina Applegate), takes them under her wing. Unknown to her, Julia also happens to be Count Thibault’s great-great-great-great-great-(well, you get the idea) granddaughter.
As soon as they realize their predicament, the two anachronistic fellows set out to find a wizard who can send them back to their own century. Until then, they must learn to deal with modern technology and conventions. JUST VISITING contains several very funny scenes in which the men ride in a car for the first time (they refer to it as a “chariot”) and learn to use running water, kitchen appliances and electricity. In one hilarious scene, they attempt to use 12th-century etiquette, including throwing chicken bones onto the floor, in an upscale restaurant.
Reno and Clavier both turn in solid comic performances, and Christina Applegate does fine in her straight-man role. Each actor’s comic gifts, as well as a passably clever script, save this movie from becoming a typically dumb (read: unfunny) comedy. JUST VISITING may appeal to fans of AIRPLANE, old Mel Brooks comedies and PINK PANTHER movies; but, it’s a weak version of these classics.
Relatively speaking, JUST VISITING contains little strongly objectionable content — with some notable exceptions, such as the occult wizardry and the fact that Julia lives with her fiancé. Although there is a fair amount of violence, it’s all silly slapstick stuff without any blood or gore.
JUST VISITING ends with a bit of tired (almost anachronistic, even) feminist moralizing in which Julia learns not to be a weak female who depends on a man for help, etc. (Oddly, Julia never seems particularly weak or dependent, but apparently we’re to assume she is.) This final trite didacticism seems incongruous in such a light little film. Overall, though, JUST VISITING offers just enough mindless entertainment to distract people from campaign-finance reform and a plummeting NASDAQ.
JUST VISITING is a pleasant little diversion if you don’t mind goofy slapstick. Compared to the gross-out comedies these days, its content is fairly clean — with some notable exceptions, such as the occult wizardry and the fact that Julia lives with her fiancé. JUST VISITING ends with a tired bit of feminist moralizing in which Julia learns not to be a weak female who depends on a man. (Oddly, however, Julia never really seems particularly weak.) JUST VISITING offers just enough entertainment to distract people from their worries