The film bounces off all of this with considerable comic energy and a great deal of inspired silliness. Director Jean-Marie Poire has the ability to take a situation and keep milking it for all he can. There are some very funny scenes the two and their encounter with a car for the first time; the scenes at the dinner-table with Jean Reno throwing Christian Clavier scraps like a dog while debating why feudal aristocracy was a good thing; and much of the anarchy in the house and hotel the attempts to cook a roast on an umbrella and Christian Claviers puzzlement over what happens when he tries to pull electric lamps out from their wall sockets.
In the midst of all this Jean Reno, known mostly to the English-speaking West as the brooding, silent characters in The Big Blue (1988), Leon/The Professional (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996) and The Da Vinci Code (2006), demonstrates great comic ability, doing a remarkable job of playing in straight-face while exuding a dignity and unflappable certainty. Christian Clavier is fun as the obscene gnome one does not see just what a chameleon change Clavier is conducting until one sees him playing his haughty, uptight 20th Century ancestor. Valerie Le Mercier is far from the fairest woman in the land that she is described as but does an amusing job of catching just the right balance between a fussy busyness and a calm, almost unnoticing acceptance of the madness going on around her.
Jean Reno, Christian Clavier and Jean-Marie Poire re-teamed for a poorly-regarded sequel The Visitors 2/Les Couloirs du Temps: Les Visiteurs 2 (1998). Just Visiting (2001) was a terrible American remake, also featuring Jean Reno and Christian Clavier and directed by Jean-Marie Poire (albeit under a pseudonym). Twenty-three years later Jean Reno, Christian Clavier and Jean-Marie Poire reteamed for a further sequel The Visitors: Bastille Day (2016).