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Johnny English /

Rated: PG

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, John Malkovich, Ben Miller, Natalie Imbruglia, Kevin McNally
Directed by: Peter Howitt
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Mark Huffam
Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, William Davies, Ben Elton
Distributor: Universal Pictures


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     Many great comedians are awful at finding and choosing the right roles. Rowan Atkinson, the accomplished and often hilarious Brit, is one of these comedians. While he was funny in Rat Race, two years ago, and will go down in history for his excellent performances as the character Mr. Bean, recently Atkinson has obviously been having a hard time picking the right movie to star in. After last year’s tremendously flat Scooby Doo, here he is again in this year’s latest flop, Johnny English. This movie thinks it’s great at spoofing spy-movies, but only about twenty percent of its attempts at humor work. Making a parody of the spy genre is one of the most exhaustedly worn-out ideas in Hollywood. If the filmmakers of a flick of this nature would like to see their movie succeed, its screenplay and technicalities must be in tip-top shape. Johnny English isn’t even close to being in such a condition. While Atkinson is always there to bring much of the dead comedy to life, he can’t even turn it into anything more than a half-pleasant diversion. I laughed a couple of times at Johnny English, but I’m in no mood to grant it any grade, that’s even close to positive.

     Johnny English (Atkinson) is your classic bad secret-agent. His gun never works when he needs it, he’s not slick and dashing, and every single plan he creates is flawed. As you could imagine, English isn’t assigned to handle any big investigations, and is only trusted to hand other agents case files, and do other ‘busy work’ of such a nature. But when all of the other agents in London are killed in a mysterious explosion, it’s, finally, his lucky day. Mr. English is the most clueless super-spy in the city, but he’s also the best they’ve got—the only one. The mission he’s assigned to is to find the royal jewels of England, which have been stolen from the all-powerful queen. Johnny English is just one big collage of crazy, dorky stunts, British accents, and comic visuals. I would’ve had a jolly time at the movies when viewing it, if I hadn’t seen the exact same thing, a million times before.

     I can’t deny that Johnny English is funny, some of the time. I probably laughed for a solid fifteen of the ninety minutes that make up its duration. All of the written-material that I laughed at, though, was clichéd. When I chuckle at a movie that, basically, just copies other movies—my enjoyment of the material is only complementing the original creators of the humor. And frankly, there’s nothing original about Johnny English. It’s just another addition to the already dead spy-spoof genre. The only movies, of this type, that have worked in a long while, are those in the Austin Powers franchise. This film is just another disgraceful and unpleasant motion picture, that works in my favor, by proving several of my points.

     Natalie Imbruglia is, quite surprisingly, a very solid performer in Johnny English. Straying from the music scene, she shows some terrific acting abilities in this movie. Even though Imbruglia’s performance here is nothing more than an entertaining piece of work from a charismatic star, she does make Johnny English watchable, most of the times. If she had picked a better flick to star in,  Imbruglia could’ve earned much respect from the critics. Sadly, her efforts here will not be remembered by most, due to the mediocre film that they’re showcased in.

     I can’t quite say that Johnny English is awful to watch, but creatively speaking, it’s a piece of crap. When it’s on cable, it’ll come across as a quite tolerable, little detour for a boring afternoon. Paying full-price to watch it isn’t a good idea, though—you won’t get your money’s worth. If you have kids, and they want to see it, renting the video will suffice. But, for your own sake, I must not stray from making my point—Johnny English is, most definitely, not worth your while.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews

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