Review – Johnny English Reborn

Outside of disaster films and more recently horror films, the spy spoof is a well-trodden path. When the world was feeling a little tired from the ‘Austin Powers’ series in 2003, ‘Johnny English’ popped up and we all shrugged our shoulders and gave it a shot. Despite a modest budget of $35 million, ‘Johnny English’ wrangled in over $100 million worldwide. With profits like that, it was easy for a sequel to get the green light and so we have ‘Johnny English Reborn’ – cue shoulder shrug.

Former spy Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is living in hiding after he bungles a security job guarding a political figure. When there is a threat on the life of the Chinese Premier’s life, the only man for the job is English, who is called back into action by the British Intellgence Orangisation MI-7.

In a year dominated by edgy comedies, it’s good to see a film that sticks to the basics. The problem with ‘Johnny English Reborn’, however, is that it plays it too safe – to the point that you expect to find a free life jacket under your seat. The jokes are repetitive and, besides a great set piece involving a helicopter, the rest is quite dull.

Atkinson is a great physical comedian and works his hardest to make the humour work, but it’s an uphill battle throughout. You can’t help but feel that he deserves better. Former ‘X-Files’ geek pinup girl, Gillian Anderson, and one time Bond girl, Rosamund Pike, represent the ladies with class and authority, but are merely there because of their connections to other spy/agent franchises.

If you enjoyed the first ‘Johnny English’ film, there may be a pleasant surprise waiting for you in ‘Johnny English Reborn’. For everyone else, wait until you’re up late at night and come across it flicking through the television channels.

1.5/5

‘Johnny English Reborn’ is now showing in Australian cinemas and is released in the UK on 8 October 2011 and the US on 28 October 2011.

Universal Pictures

The Popcorn Junkie

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