Thursday, 13 October 2011

REVIEW: Johnny English Reborn

Dir.: Oliver Parker
With: Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson

Firstly, a few words on the timing of my reviews. I started writing for my student newspaper, so I feel that  I should give them the priority of getting my reviews first. I'll publish the reviews (or extended versions of them) after they come out in print, which is every Thursday. Of course, if I write something extra it'll be here asap. Anyway, here's what I thought of Rowan Atkinson's latest work.

‘Johnny English Reborn’ did not really leave much of an impression on me. It follows exactly the same pattern as the first instalment and does not disappoint nor surprise. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I were a twelve-year-old boy – it is mostly a slapstick comedy aimed at family audiences. In retrospect, it does meet the audience’s demands quite well.

Rowan Atkinson is back in this familiar role as the hapless spy Johnny English –a more masculine version of Mr Bean in a better suit but with identical mannerisms. The film centres on Johnny’s return to London after some years spent in a Tibetan monastery, learning The Way. Gillian Anderson plays his new boss who makes it very obvious that she does not think highly of him and his abilities. Rosamund Pike gives a straight-faced performance as a super-psychiatrist who is also the only person who seems to like Johnny English and his archaic manners.

It is fairly clear that this film originated as a spoof of James Bond. I am not entirely sure why it needed to be done again after ‘Austin Powers’. ‘Johnny English Reborn’ does have a few scenes set in very “Bondian” locations like a casino, underground laboratory and aboard a plane. However, it is not enough to simply copy-paste the styling of the Bond franchise; what’s lacking is the actual parody. Perhaps, if a different actor played Johnny then the film would have had more of an original feel. Rowan Atkinson’s presence, although commercially dictated, places the film on the same footing as the Mr Bean movies, both condemned by the critics.

Having said all this, there were a couple of funny moments in the film but I could not shake off the feeling that I have seen this all before in Mr Bean.

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