Johnny English Reborn (REVIEW)

Johnny English Reborn (REVIEW)

Rowan Atkinson returns as the bumbling British spy in this light comedy sequel from director Oliver Parker. Recalled into service after a botched mission in Mozambique, English learns of a plot to kill the Chinese Premier and is tasked with foiling the attempt. But English is an unpredictable weapon at best, a fact MI7 soon learn as the blundering idiot leaves a trail of wreckage in his wake.

Contrary to most, I actually thought the first Johnny English quite amusing, having watched it on a flight to Singapore. That said, after 14 hours stuck in a claustrophobic, slightly smelly metal tube, I also thought Leslie Nielsen giving gardening tips the height of comedy. Having watched Johnny English Reborn from the comforts of terra firma, I could afford to be less forgiving.

Johnny English Reborn is run-of-the-mill slapstick, inoffensive light comedy tied around an irrelevant narrative. Films such as these can only really be judged on how much they make you laugh: in my case, this was sadly infrequent. Atkinson’s regular facial gurning twitched the odd smile, while Rosamund Pike provided an occasional distraction, but that was about it. A pity, as spy spoofs can sometimes really hit (Austin Powers, The Naked Gun, Top Secret). Like softcore porn in a hardcore age, Johnny English Reborn teases with the promise of something better, but remains shamefully untapped.

There’s not much more to say really. Johnny English Reborn boasts an absurd and generally dull narrative, with similarly bland characters. Comedy is pretty weak and not nearly as frequent as it should be. If you want some laughs, avoid this lazy Atkinson vehicle and go rent 4 Lions. Or better yet, check out Channel 4’s new comedy Fresh Meat, which (so far) holds great promise.

Rating 5/10

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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

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