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'Just Visiting'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 6, 2001


    'Just Visiting' Jean Reno and Christina Applegate in "Just Visiting." (Walt Disney)
They're back. I'm talking Jean Reno and Christian Claver, who reprise their roles as zany time travellers in the 1993 French comedy, "Les Visiteurs." Also returning is director Jean-Marie Gaubert, who basically redoes his movie for American multiplex audiences with the help of co-writer John Hughes.

In the 12th century, French nobleman Thibault (Reno) is on the eve of his marriage to the fair Rosalind (Christina Applegate) when deceitful trickery (courtesy of a court schemer and a witch) causes a great tragedy involving his beautiful bride.

With the help of an English wizard (Malcolm McDowell, who shows up in the strangest places), Thibault and his valet Andre (Clavier, also a co-writer) transport themselves through time, intending to undo this treachery and preserve Thibault's lineage.

Instead, they're catapulted into the future, to 21st-century Chicago, which just happens to be where co-writer Hughes comes from.

With the help of Thibault's descendant, Julia (also Applegate), the medieval trio attempts to return to the past. But not before they have tangled with more treachery, this time from Julia's slimy fiance, Hunter (Matthew Ross).

If you saw the French version, well, here it is, in Disney language, with John-Hughes-style slapstick.

The Frenchmen – real fish out of water – "kill" a sports utility van, wreak unintentional havoc in Julia's bathroom and kitchen, display outrageous behavior in a swanky restaurant, mistake the deodorant bar in a urinal for after-dinner mints, and so forth.

Some of these gags are very funny, and it's a pleasure to see Reno as something other than a villain in an English language picture.

"Just Visiting" (PG-13, 88 minutes) – Contains a little foul language, crude humor and small hints of sexuality.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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