Just Visiting (2001) / Comedy-Fantasy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence and crude humor
Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Jean Reno, Christian Clavier, Christina Applegate, Matt Ross, Tara Reid
Director: Jean-Marie Poire
Screenplay: Christian Clavier, Jean-Marie Poire, John Hughes
Review published April 18, 2001
JUST VISITING is one of those remakes that will make you say "Why did they bother?" After all, this is an American remake of a French film that only came out eight years before, has the same director, and the same lead stars. Considering the original film (LES VISITEURS) is funny to most Americans that have seen it (including myself), why did the makers of this higher budget production think that setting the film in Chicago and casting actors with no box office appeal (Christina Applegate, Tara Reid, and Malcolm McDowell) would be more appealing to American audiences? Considering this new incarnation cost $40 million to make and grossed a disastrous $4.7 million, one can only conclude that it was an idea born from dumbasses.
Reno and Clavier once again play knight and serf who seek a great wizard in order to reverse the effects of a witch's curse that caused the knight to kill his bride-to-be, but the wizard forgets a crucial ingredient in the concoction and the duo are transported to Chicago in the year 2000. The knight meets one of his descendants, the spitting image of his beloved, and have a great deal of trouble adjusting to the new and completely different world. Will they be able to travel back to their own time without getting killed or killing anyone in return?
JUST VISITING isn't a horrible film, but it's not nearly as funny or fresh as the French original. Sure, the special effects are more impressive, but the cast is less appealing, and what gave belly laughs are now reduced to a few scant chuckles here and there. If anything, this updating is a little more sanitized, which is a bit misguided because much of the laughs in LES VISITEURS came from some bawdy moments and lowbrow toilet humor. In an effort to have more mass appeal, they have removed the elements which made the story appealing, and rendered JUST VISITING null and void from the get-go.
JUST VISITING is only recommended for fans of LES VISITEURS who are curious to see what differences exist between the two films. Everyone else should really seek out the French original, as it's better in any way that truly counts for entertainment.
©2001 Vince Leo