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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Johnny English (review)

Rowan Atkinson (Scooby-Doo) has successfully straddled the full spectrum of funny, from the sharp intellectual wordplay of Blackadder to the pathos-imbued silent comedy of Mr. Bean. Here, alas, he lands somewhere squarely in the uninspired middle with a character who is by turns bumbling and sophisticated, idiotic and brainy, dorky and irresistible to women, contradictions inexplicable from the perspectives of both story and humor. Disaster leaves British intelligence with a single agent, the incredibly inconsistent Johnny English, just as the crown jewels are stolen and the throne is under the gravest danger it’s seen since Fergie’s last tabloid escapade. Pop star Natalie Imbruglia is at sea as English’s fellow agent, and John Malkovich (Knockaround Guys) looks uncomfortable hamming it up as a snooty French bad guy. The few moments that provoke genuine laughter — when Atkinson is allowed into broad Bean territory — are few and far between. Call it Bland, James Bland.

see also:

Johnny English Reborn (review)
Johnny English Strikes Again movie review: the spy who was a complete doofus

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Johnny English (2003) | directed by Peter Howitt
US/Can release: Jul 18 2003
UK/Ire release: Apr 11 2003

MPAA: rated PG for comic nudity, some crude humor and language
BBFC: rated PG (contains mild language and comic violence)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes
posted in:
action | comedy | reviews | spy

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