The Opinionated Wench  

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Just Visiting

I saw this movie with Jean and Blue because NOBODY ELSE wanted to see it at all. THEY all said the reviews were bad and that they thought the movie would suck. Well, the one review of this movie that I read was not a bad review at all -- it claimed it was better than the French original -- and the movie didn't suck. I mean, this movie is not going to win any Oscars or anything, but I didn't feel that I had wasted my time watching it.

Just Visiting had an almost Monty Python-esque opening, with a voiceover introducing the villain of the piece ("we can tell by the look on his face that he is up to no good") and the hero, Count Thibeault. Thibeault and the villain both want to marry Christina Applegate (actually, there are probably a lot more than just two guys who want to marry Christina Applegate). The villain conspires to put something in Thibeault's drink which first makes him see everything as though it has been painted in that renaissance paniting style with the faces made out of vegetables (I think the style is called pastiche), then causes him to kill Christina. Thibeault gets a wizard in to help him travel back in time to right this horrible wrong, but instead it sends him and his Baldrick-like sidekick into the twenty-first century.

In the twenty-first century, Thibeault and Andre (the sidekick) are taken in by Christina Applegate (as a distant descendant of the previous Christina Applegate). They have a very alarming time adapting to the modern world -- they hack an SUV to pieces, totally ruin Christina Applegate's kitchen, waste a very large bottle of Chanel No. 5, and behave very badly in an expensive restaurant. I thought this part was taken a little too far -- it seemed like almost half the movie was spent on the two visitors' destructive reactions to modern things. The best part of this sequence was near the beginning, when they stepped out of the museum they had arrived in to encounter modern Chicago -- planes roaring overhead, buses going by, road construction, helicopters, immensely high buildings, rollerblading couriers, and everything else fast-paced and noisy combined into a bewildering swirl of activity.

Thibeault's goal is to return to the appropriate moment in time so he can marry the first Christina Applegate, with whom he is madly in love. The second Christina Applegate is doing her best to help him, but is hindered by a villainous fiance who can't wait to marry her, sell off her estate, get the money, divorce her, and marry his trashy secretary. Andre thinks his goal is to serve his master, but then he meets Tara Reid, the gardener at the estate next door, and she convinces him to stay in the 21st century, eat donuts, and buy exciting men's fashions at rock bottom prices.

Thibeault catches up with the wizard, gets sent back to the appropriate moment in time, marries the girl, and goes on to produce a successful line of heirs ending with Christina Applegate, who ditches the villainous fiance, decides to keep the estates, and meets a very nice French lawyer at the end. Sorry if you think I'm wrapping up the plot too neatly, but I don't want to give it all away (for instance, I'm not telling you about the horse-on-subway car chase near the end, or the method by which the villainous fiance is disposed of).

I thought this was a pretty reasonable movie. I might have thought that Thibeault's and Andre's French accents were a little cheesy, except that they were both played by actual Frenchmen. I could complain that the time period named as the time period that Thibeault and Andre came from didn't match the time period that the clothes were from, but honestly it didn't bother me all that much. For the most part, at least, the costumes were accurate to a time period in history (specifically, the time period when women wore big horned headdresses and Princess Leia buns). This wasn't a really intellectual movie -- the plot was pretty simple -- but it was made in such a way that I didn't feel like I had to be a totally uneducated lout to get anything out of it.

Score: Two and a Half Pints

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