“Johnny English Reborn” Unredeemable

“Johnny English Reborn” Unredeemable

October, 21, 2011, by Isaac Weeks

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To answer your first question, yes, someone actually ponied up the cash to make a sequel to 2003's Johnny English, starring Rowan Atkinson as the titular bumbling English spy. To answer your second question, yes, this is easily the most unnecessary sequel of the year.

Before I even delve into actually reviewing Johnny English Reborn, let's actually consider for a moment why this thing was even produced. Atkinson had a hand in creating two classic TV shows for the BBC, Mr. Bean and Black Adder. Much the same as I must question the state of Al Pacino's 401(k) whenever I see him appear in the trailer for Adam Sandler's upcoming release Jack & Jill, did Atkinson fail to adequately provide himself with a safety net for his old age?

How else can you explain his involvement in this mess? It would be easy for a performer to point toward boredom as an excuse when signing onto less than stellar material, but this film makes last week's release The Thing look like The King's Speech in comparison.

In Johnny English Reborn, Atkinson stars as English, a member of Her Majesty's Secret Service who is now living a life of disgraced solitude in Tibet after a mission gone wrong. He is called back into service by MI-7's new chief (poor Gillian Anderson) to help prevent an assassination attempt on the Chinese premiere.

Look, I don't want anyone to get me wrong. It's not like I walked into this movie already set on hating it. It's been eight years since I have watched the original, but I remember it being as good as a film can be when Natalie Imbruglia (singer of the one-hit-wonder "Torn") is your second-billed star. The moment I knew I was in trouble, however, was when I realized the first five minutes of the film were less concerned with reintroducing the character of English to an audience that most likely didn't remember him, and was concentrating primarily on how many dick jokes they could fit into the frame. Seriously, it's all rocks-tied-to-nuts jokes during the entire Tibet sequence of the film.

It occurred to me toward the end of the movie that the director, Oliver Parker (An Ideal Husband), appeared to have no knowledge of the character before taking on the job of helming the sequel. Believe me when I tell you, I can't remember the last time I have watched a slapstick comedy that featured a main character this unlikable. Belittling, misogynistic, hints of racism; I applaud the filmmakers for their attempts at trying to bring realism to the character of a glorified mentally-challenged cop, but this is a textbook example of failing to write for your audience.

There are dozens of horrible comedies made in Hollywood every year that would be ten times better in some small way by Atkinson appearing in them. I believe that may be the best way for his fans to appreciate him after this monstrosity.

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  • Kevin
    10/25 10:38 AM

    He needed the money to replace that McLaren F1 he totaled back in August

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