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
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.