Johnny English Reborn

Film, Comedy
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Johnny English Reborn
Was the world clamouring for this? A ho-hum sequel to a so-so original whose central character was funnier in a credit-card commercial? Eight years after his first celluloid airing, Rowan Atkinson’s Bean-meets-Bond creation gets to bungle another day. This time, the filmmakers take the plot more seriously, bringing MI-7’s least special agent out of retirement for a rendezvous in Hong Kong: he uncovers a conspiracy to eliminate the Chinese premier during talks with the British PM. The calculation is that Atkinson’s practised buffoonery will play funnier if there’s something at stake. Yet in reality it means the movie has to put on a relatively straight face to keep the plot ticking over, while parcelling out the laughs in discrete sketches.

Some of the hi-jinks are amusing, including an eye-watering training session at a temple and deadpan stuff with a powered office chair. But too often the gags are smile-worthy not thigh-slapping. Thankfully, the supporting cast are on good form, especially Daniel Kaluuya’s keen youthful sidekick and Dominic West as a suave MI-7 colleague, though Rosamund Pike doesn’t have enough to do as a body-language expert and uneasy love interest. Director Oliver Parker (the ‘St Trinian’s’ films) tries his best to inject some zip into the anodyne action highlights but fights a losing battle. It’s very undemanding, though the enthusiastic granny bashing does provide a quantum of solace.

By: Trevor Johnston

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Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday October 7 2011
Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Oliver Parker
Cast: Rowan Atkinson
Gillian Anderson
Ben Miller