Just Visiting [2001]

Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Stars: Jean Reno, Christina Applegate, Christian Clavier, Matt Ross, Tara Reid
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 88 minutes

Actors Jean Reno and Christian Clavier, along with director Jean-Marie Poiré, were the creative team behind The Visitors, a French comedy from the early 1990s that was a massive hit in its native land and a cult favorite in America. Enthusiastically compared by some to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Visitors concerns a time-traveling, medieval knight and his lowly servant, both lost in the 20th century and both shocked by the discovery of their descendants' reversal of fortunes. The film works not only as a nutty bit of slapstick, but as a cheeky satire about class conflict. The Visitors deserves its admirers, but it doesn't deserve Just Visiting, an oddly inappropriate remake featuring the same cast and director, all of whom are undercut by an annoyingly sentimental spin on the original story. This time, Reno and Clavier inexplicably end up in a modern-day U.S. instead of France, and the lure of freedom for Clavier's downtrodden character is tied up not in economics but in his attachment to a fetching neighbor. Blame cowriter John Hughes (Home Alone) for turning something that was once sharp into something dull and sticky. With Christina Applegate, Malcolm McDowell. --Tom Keogh

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