Just Visiting

Movie Information

Genre: Comedy Fantasy
Director: Jean-Marie Poir
Starring: Jean Reno, Christian Clavier, Christina Applegate, Malcolm MacDowell
Rated: PG-13

Just Visiting is goofy, charming, very sweet. There are beautiful chic women, and chivalric men who don’t bathe much — you guessed right: It’s French! In twelfth-century France, evil witchery causes brave Count Thibault (Jean Reno, Ronin) to hallucinate and kill his beloved bride-to-be, the beautiful Lady Rosalina (Christina Applegate, TV’s Married with Children) on the night before their wedding. An English wizard (Malcolm MacDowell (A Clockwork Orange) attempts to send the Count and his servant, Andre, back in time to rewind the hands of fate, but forgot to put the crow’s eggs in the potion and the guys get blasted nine centuries forward instead — into the medieval section of Chicago’s Art Museum. Mon Dieu, who should be the medieval specialist working in the museum but Thibaut’s descendant and heir to his estate — the beautiful mademoiselle, Julia Malfete (in a dual role played by Applegate)! But the poor damsel is engaged to marry a snitty, greedy parvenu who wants her to sell off the ancient family legacy to real-estate developers. Count Thibault (“Courage is my creed!”) uses his broadsword to slash his way through many 21st century threats — including a rock ‘n’ roll screaming chariot monster with flashing lights, rubber wheels and a sunroof. Other niceties of “civilization” amuse the time travelers: They love bathing in the toilet, farting in fancy bourgeois restaurants and getting drunk with the blokes in the Castle tavern (“I am not Lancelot. I am Count Thibault!”). While Thibault is trying to convince Julia to help him find a wizard to get him back to the 12th century, his servant is taking baby steps toward a totally foreign concept-freedom. Finally the wizard transports himself to the present day, blows himself up in a motel and put his pieces back together again after the police have left the crime scene and manages to brew up another time traveling potion. Thibault and Julia rush on horseback through the streets of Chicago back to the museum, Thibault kisses Julia chastely and … oh, I’m not going to ruin it. Golly gosh darn it! This really is a cute movie. The actors are all appealing and lovable, the costumes and sets are incredible and the special effects — of which there are quite enough to entertain even the most jaundiced video-game addict — are spectacular. The movie is remake of Jean-Marie Poire’s 1993 French film, Les Visiteurs, whose script seems to have been Americanized by everybody’s favorite Hollywood comedy writer John Hughes. During Just Visiting, I laughed out loud, sniffled a bit and said “aw shucks” a few times. I left the theater smiling. Don’t miss it.

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