Review: Johnny English Reborn
PLOT: After getting a former assignment killed, super agent Johnny English is forced into retirement. While away from work he finds himself at a monastery getting into all sorts of hilarious hi-jinks. Yet the jokes are amped way up when he is requested to return to British Intelligence. Sometimes the humor works but most of the time it drags on too long, or itís just not as funny as it could be. Will English get his man? Frankly itís hard to care either way.
Rowan Atkinson returns as a super inept spy who can do very little right. In this sequel to 2003ís JOHNNY ENGLISH, JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN offers a little insight as to what happened to the man they call English. For the one or two people that still care, he has been studying with Tibetan monks to make his mind and body stronger. Ironically enough, it only really teaches him that the occasional bout with common sense is good, and the power to withstand being kicked in the groin is an impressive thing to learn. If this sounds entertaining, feel free to partake.
Atkinson is Ė and always will be Ė a fantastic comedic force. While he tends to choose roles like MR. BEAN and this particular English fellow, sometimes his choices work and other times not so much. He is certainly good at these types of roles. The audience that I sat with was laughing through much of the pratfalls and buffoonery. In fact, there were a couple of moments that had me laughing quietly to myself. Yet these moments offered up the charms of Atkinson and not the ridiculous nature of his pathetic excuse for a spy. However when something was truly funny, it lasted much longer than it ever should have. This was especially true in one sequence reminiscent of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK where he is following an overzealous martial arts villain. This time, it is Johnny English using what little common sense he has to get a hold of a special key the man stole.
The story involves English being called back to work after being terminated for an unforgivable mistake. After a montage of silly scenes of him at a monastery, he returns to find that British Intelligence has changed quite a bit. With Gillian Anderson in charge, the work environment has become more family friendly and yet it is much more serious - and politically correct. Most importantly however, it seems there is an assassination plot revealed which for some reason, only English can take on Ė albeit you do figure out why this under qualified agent has been brought on near the end. It is hard to conjure up any more emotion about this film considering the original feature came out in 2003 and wasnít all that well regarded by most audiences.
As desperate for re-launching this character into the motion picture landscape! It was nice to see something different from your typical sex-obsessed comedy. JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is most assuredly a comedy for families. Aside from a couple of crude jokes, this is definitely something children might find inspired enough for a laugh. There were loads of chuckles as English was stroking the fur of an pretend cat - he thought he had killed the real one. Of course no animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture!
Director Oliver Parkerís oddly paced spy spoof also delivers a couple of nice surprises and that is the supporting cast. Sure it seems like a waste to have Gillian Anderson, Dominic West and Rosamund Pike helplessly stare at Atkinsonís antics in utter seriousness. Yet it is still refreshing to see such an exciting cast, itís just too bad it was in this particular film.
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN is a slow paced comedy that fails to really ignite. Sure there are moments of hilarity, yet they drag on much too long. While Rowan Atkinson may not be taking on the best roles or making the most inspired flicks, there are small sparks throughout that show he may make something incredible again. Where is a big screen BLACK ADDER when you need it?