Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So… Johnny English has been reborn. Since I totally whiffed on ‘Johnny English’ when it first came around a good eight years ago, I didn’t know he died in that movie and needed to be reborn, but the lady in the cube across from me told me her kids loved that movie. She also told me he didn’t die. I should mention these kids of hers were four and six at the time. From normal adults who had seen ‘Johnny English’ I had heard it was just Mr. Bean in a tuxedo and being too lazy to backtrack and watch that movie, to maybe counter the opinion of these adults and pre-adolescent children, I’ll just move on to ‘Johnny English Reborn’ which was… you know… not so bad.

Apparently, sometime between the last time you all saw Johnny (Rowan Atkinson) and today, the MI7 super agent was involved in an op in Mozambique that went all to hell, and it was all perceived to be Johnny’s fault. Probably because it was. Now the shamed agent is spending his time in a Tibetan monastery making his testicles stronger, because that’s a skill that’s going to come in handy later on I’m guessing, while becoming one with himself.

Then duty calls once again. Word is that there is an assassin attempt brewing in the Queens Land to murder the Chinese ambassador which would be bad. I’m not sure why, outside of the fact that killing ambassadors is bad thing. MI7 has changed a little bit as he will see when Johnny gets back to England, observing that they’ve whored out their name to a corporate sponsor, and he also notices that his boss Miss Pegasus (Gillian Anderson) doesn’t like him too much. We here at the FCU have noticed that the older Gillian Anderson gets, in an unnatural set of genetic events, she seems to get hotter. At this rate by the time Ms. Anderson turns seventy, she will be the hottest woman on the planet earth, by far.

Before Johnny gets his mission underway he has to load up on some secret agent gadgetry, get a quick psychoanalysis by MI7’s staff psychologist Miss Kate (Rosemund Pike), and reacquaint himself with some agents from back in the day, such as his idol, the super duper agent Ambrose (Dominic West). Now saddled with greenhorn agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya) who is brand new to the secret agent game and has the unenviable task of keeping an eye on Agent English, adventure is now afoot.

Sure enough, after doing a little jet setting to Hong Kong and performing some secret agent type stuff, the conspiracy has been uncovered. Not only that, it looks like the Mozambique fiasco might not have been Johnny’s fault after all. It was, really, but maybe not completely. Tragically, due to some backstabbing shenanigans from somebody on the inside, Johnny will have to do battle with the agency he loves so much, as they have wrongly turned against him, unless he can prove otherwise… and more adventure… and comedy hopefully… will ensue.

Like we said earlier, we didn’t see the first Johnny English movie, but nobody… except that ladies two kids… seemed to like that movie. They said it was dumb. Well, I have seen ‘Johnny English Reborn’ and it is a little dumb, to be honest with you, but it’s also pretty funny. On more than one occasion I laughed out loud during this movie, and I was consistently amused almost from beginning to end at the stupidity of it all. Is it a good movie? Who knows? But was director Oliver Parker trying to make a good movie or was he trying to make a funny movie? I imagine he was trying to make both, but given a choice, I bet he would choose funny. I bet you.

Part of the charm of ‘Johnny English Reborn’ is that Atkinson doesn’t play Johnny as a complete clueless idiot. In fact he’s actually a pretty good agent who’s intelligent, loyal and can fight and stuff. He does do some idiotic things throughout the movie, because he is Johnny English being played by Rowan Atkinson, and as such we have to get some comedy from somewhere since every other character in this movie is a Straight Man or a Setup Guy, but Johnny is a competent agent. Maybe too competent even. I mean I don’t know for sure if it would’ve worked, and I certainly wouldn’t want to risk what we got with this sequel, but it’s possible if the filmmakers had made Johnny just a little bit dumber the movie might’ve been even funnier. It’s a possibility.

The supporting cast was great, despite the obvious fact they were on board for support and only for support since it was their job to feed Atkinson jokes to either make you laugh or groan, and yes the movie is a little on dumb side, it’s a little on the predictable side, there’s a joke or two that doesn’t work which is always uncomfortable… but I bet if those ladies kids saw this movie, now at the ages of 12 and 14, they would probably like it just as much as the first one. Not as much as they would probably like ‘New Moon’ because they are still infantile kids with no taste, but I bet they would like it.

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