ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  jean-marie poiré

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  159 minutes

RELEASED  -  6 april 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  hollywood pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  just visiting

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $40,000,000
just visiting - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from just visiting at

buy the dvd from just visiting at

on the eve of his wedding, 12th century knight count thibault of malfete, mistakenly kills his beloved princess rosalind, while under an evil spell. grief-stricken, thibault enlists a wizard to send him back in time to avert the murder.

malcom mcdowell's time travel as the wizard is similar to his method as h.g. wells in "time after time." in both movies he travels into the future from england and arrives in a museum in the united states.


picture from just visiting

picture from just visiting

picture from just visiting


two out of four possible stars

Taken from a french version of the film that starred the same two French men, Just Visiting throws all the usual fish out of water jokes at the audience, never trying to become something unique. Although the basic story might be a familiar one, it's hard to say why the filmmakers decided to layer what could have been a good base for the movie, but it was layered with obvious comedy and non-dynamic characters. Though it must be said that although the comedy wasn't always original, Jean Reno and Christian Clavier have a good handle on the buddy/team comedy way of acting.

Both of these actors, who play medieval men from France who are taken through time to present day New York, play the "fish out of water" aspect of this script very well. One of the jokes, an especially over-used and familiar one, that includes a toilet, is actually entertaining because of these two men. The joke is very simple as well. Jean and Christian, being from the fourteenth century or so, have never seen indoor plumbing. And when they come into contact with a toilet, what else would they think to do with it, other than use it as a sink to wash their faces. As I said, it's an old joke, and it's pretty crass, but it's still funny, for some reason, in this film.

And when the producers of this film decided to remake it from the French version that had also starred Jean Reno and Christian Clavier, they probably saw a good idea and pounced upon it. It's just too bad that the end result is somewhat disappointing. Possibly the biggest mistake the filmmakers here made was the casting of Christina Applegate in the role of Jean Reno's love interest, "Julia Malfete." Not only does she not have any sexual chemistry with jean reno, but she is also a lot younger.

The age difference might have been quite the norm in medieval Europe, and it's definitely the standard today, though a different actress might have been better for the part. Whether or not the age difference would have been that noticeable with another actor, especially one with a little more natural chemistry with Reno. Of course, another solution might have been to replaced Jean himself. Though as he was in the original film, and helped to make it the success that it was, this might not have been wise. Especially since he is one of the best part of this movie. No, the largest flaw in this movie was Christina Applegate. Her character is not sincere enough and she plays the character as a harsh woman, not open to romantic fairy-tales.

This personality is fine for the beginning of the movie, but she never changes. She's still the cold woman at the end of the movie that she was at the beginning. Though this probably has more to do with her acting abilities, than it does with the character she played. And the problem with her abilities is that she doesn't have any. In every movie that she's appeared in, she's played a version of the same character: someone with a grating voice and abrupt manner. It might be all right for jack nicholson to play himself in every film, but at least "himself" is interesting. Applegate, as an actress, doesn't add anything to this film other than a pair of legs in some high heels.

Her reactions to jean reno's attentions are insincere and it's pretty hard to imagine him having any interest in her. The thing that's perplexing about this movie, is that while the idea is a good one with a lot of potential, the resulting film is a disappointment. Excepting the sub-standard performance I mentioned a few lines above, one of the most creative parts of this film was the short amount of time spent in medieval France. The costumes and dialogue were fun and it showed a humorous medieval Europe, rather than the depressing and oppressed real-life times.

And when the production moves into the present, when Jean and his partner are thrust into the twenty-first century, the colors become more muted and there a lot more grays. This isn't really a criticism though, but more of an observation. It is good though that the production designers made sure of creating two distinctive worlds (medieval France and modern New York) for the picture. It shows that the filmmakers had more on their minds than just toilet jokes. The one thing that wasn't on their minds though had to be the acting. Though the two frenchmen did more than capable jobs, the rest of the cast really didn't measure up.

In addition to applegate's less than stellar showing, Bridgette Wilson and Matt Ross, who play the requisite bad guys in the film, had performances that were more cliché than anything else. Their "bad guy" personas had all the familiar dialogue and action and they did nothing surprising to throw the heroes off the track. They were more of a mild annoyance than anything and didn't really give the picture the sense of urgency that it needed.

In the end, this picture amounts to something entertaining if you're not concerned about acting ability and are able to focus on Jean Reno and Christian Clavier for the entire piece. Because none of the other actors make that much of an impact. And on a further note, it might be wisest to rent the original 1993 French version of this film, as it was largely successful in Europe and was worth creating an american version from it's idea. It's just too bad that this new version isn't a better film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content © 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs © hollywood pictures 2001
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact