"Knightly Jests and Jousts"
What You Need To Know:
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
(PaPa, RoRo, C, O, Fe, LL, VV, S, A, M) Pagan worldview with romantic slant, plus mild Christian, occult & feminist elements & themes, including witch casts spell, wizardry/witchcraft, reference to “God’s punishing us for practicing the black arts” followed by prayer for forgiveness; 9 obscenities, 8 profanities, man gestures with middle finger, “bathroom humor” (passing gas), & vomiting; comical, action violence such as slapstick punching & shoving, swordfight, men killed by axe & sword (no blood), police beat man with batons, man shoves woman, man threatens another man with a knife & sword, horse trips & falls, horse jumps through glass window (unscathed), evil character kills self by jumping out window, & woman hits man in crotch; implied fornication (main female character lives with fiancé), unmarried couple shown in bed together (without any sexual content) & male character betrays fiancée with another woman; no nudity; alcohol use; no substance abuse; and, servant steals jewel box, servant calls master “messiah” & mild disrespect toward police.
JUST VISITING is a silly comedy, but a fun one. It’s a pleasant little diversion if you don’t mind goofy slapstick, and, compared to all the gross-out comedies these days, its content is fairly clean.
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.