Just Visiting

An American remake of the enormously popular 1993 French farce Les visiteurs, with the same lead actors (Jean Reno and Christian Clavier), the same producers, two of the same writers (Clavier and Jean-Marie Poire), and the same director (Jean-Marie Gaubert). I haven’t seen the original, and this mishmashwhich has little to offer apart from the charm of Christina Applegate and some Chicago locationsdoesn’t make me want to. A medieval count and his servant are magically transported to a Chicago museum; the movie tries very hard to be as dumb as possible, but apart from its flurries of special effects at the beginning and end nothing is allowed to stretch, and genuine lightheartedness is at a premium. The scatological gags aren’t nearly as good as those in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you can track down Tarzan’s New York Adventure, which does a fine job with the same sort of comic conceits, check that out instead. With Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Ross, Tara Reid, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and an awkward George Plimpton, who’s doing his best to seem dithering rather than simply inept. John Hughes did something or other with or on the script. 88 min. (JR)

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