Today: May 23, 2024

Johnny English Reborn DVD

Rowan Atkinson returns as bumbling 007-esque hero Johnny English, and to say that the results are mixed would be kind to say the least.

Rowan Atkinson returns as bumbling 007-esque hero
Johnny English, and to say that the results are mixed would be kind to say the

While his first
adventure wasn’t brilliant, it did have a few decent laughs and though daft it
was more than watchable. Reborn on
the other hand seems to completely miss what a Johnny English film should be,
and is full of gags that are lazy, repetitive and worst of all not funny.

Things kick off with
English in exile at some sort of oriental training camp. He returns to London only to find that
his beloved MI7 is suffering from a painfully generic case of ‘there’s a mole
in the agency’. In one sense maybe
plot doesn’t matter quite so much in a spoof movie, after all it’s only there
as a framework on which to hang a series of jokes about spy film cliches,
right? Wrong. According to the makers of this debacle
at least.

Director Oliver Parker frustratingly gives the
underdeveloped and boring storyline more attention than the humour and
slapstick. If the story was even a
tiny bit interesting then that wouldn’t be such a problem, and it would make
perfect sense to abandon the comedy elements in favour of plot development…
but then it wouldn’t be a spoof at all but kind of pseudo-Bond film in and of
itself! Atkinson’s enormous
talents go to waste as the film takes itself too seriously.

One flaw the film shares
with it’s predecessor is that when it does manage to hit the occasional funny
bone, the pace grinds to a standstill, with the edit blatantly waiting for the
audience to calm down from a laughing fit before moving on. These moments drag and completely drain
even the jokes that do work of their comic energy.

Parker gets it wrong on
so many counts that it’s amazing he wasn’t fired. A scene with Johnny’s likeable sidekick Bough was cut
because test audiences were disappointed he wasn’t in the rest of the film;
which is a great example of how the director has made a movie that simply fails
to deliver what it’s audience wants to see. The writing is patchy and the supporting characters
hollow. Even Gillian Anderson and Rosamund
flounder in their small roles; they have nothing to do besides lend
their names to the poster.

A rare positive is the
film’s memorable score; composer Ilan
is definitely one to listen out for. That, along with a zippy wheelchair chase and a clever gag
involving voice changing sum up the film’s pluses. Many of the jokes were used in the trailer, robbing them of
impact in the film itself.

Reborn starts and
remains stuck in an unfunny and boring limbo between spy adventure and genre
spoof. Tiresomely predictable and
frequently cringe worthy, clearly things could not only get better after the
uneven original. Hopefully now
English will go back into exile where sadly, he belongs. This could and should have been so much

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