Johnny English Reborn

(2011)

Genres: Action, Comedy, Thriller

Review: Johnny English Reborn

Transcript for Review: Johnny English Reborn

 

  CHRISTY: Our next movie is "Johnny English Reborn," a sequel to the 2003 British spy parody. Rowan Atkinson is back as secret agent Johnny English, who thinks he's as suave as James Bond but mostly bumbles his way from one situation to the next. Being tricked out with all the obligatory weapons and gadgets helps somewhat.   Johnny is back at the agency after several years with a bit of a stigma attached to him. Seems he massively bungled an assignment in Mozambique. And his new boss, played by Gillian Anderson, lets him know she won't tolerate those kinds of mistakes.  For his next job, Johnny must find out who's behind a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier. Even though he's been training in the remote mountains of Tibet all this time, it seems he may not be quite up for the challenge.    That any of this works, ever, is a testament to the comedy skills of Rowan Atkinson. You can sense him slumming and straining but he's so gifted physically that he makes some pretty idiotic material more enjoyable than it ought to be. I laughed here and there but not enough to give it a thumbs-up.
IGNATIY: You know I would say that slapstick is probably the most challenging kind of comedy to do.  I mean it takes the most from a performer, and it also requires the most concise directing.  And I think it’s really the directing in this film that really fouls it all up.  Because, you’re right, Atkinson is a really, really talented physical comedian, and there are a few gags in the film that are just on paper they’re brilliant.

CHRISTY: Like what?

IGNATIY: Um, I think where he’s in the meeting kind of the…the big conference room, and he has the chair that keeps going up and down.

CHRISTY: That is very funny.

IGNATIY:  It’s a really funny gag on paper, but the film it kind of screws it up because it keeps throwing in these reaction shots.  That you know are telling us that we’re supposed to laugh, but they’re actually ruining the joke.

CHRISTY: And a huge waste also of Rosamund Pike, who is good in everything, who has this beautiful, strong, smart presence about her, but basically just has to show up and look good.