Rowan Atkinson returns as Johnny English, in a sequel that not many people were asking for. It’s easy to dismiss Johnny English Reborn as a belated cash-in sequel. After all, the movie isn’t such a movie being ever demanded.
There’s a good reason for that as Johnny English not being very good. Making a movie of a character used for a credit card commercial met inevitable criticism. Yet, the movie actually turned into a reasonably sizeable hit.
It’s Rowan Atkinson that deserve credits for making the movie’s success. Even when working with sloppy material and half-baked scenarios, Atkinson is still an immensely skilled and gifted comedy performer. He throws much of what he has at the role of Johnny English. That is his face-pulls and tone of voice that give the film a little bit of life. Being funny Bond-like movie is the secret behind Johnny English’s success.
That is where the problem comes. With full appreciation of comedy, Johnny English Reborn isn’t funny at all. The movie carries around a script chock-full of contrived set-ups and bad jokes, and it’s a lead weight around the movie. No matter how much gusto Rowan Atkinson throws himself into things, it’s a virtually mirth-free 100 minutes that you get for your money.
There’s nothing clever about the humor, and that isn’t quite a problem itself. Although, it does fail to mine the many glorious opportunities that the Bond franchise in particular offers for spoofing. I should say that the majority of those of us who have seen the film weren’t impressed at all.
Still, there was one vehement counter-argument. It might be that, seen with the right audience and with expectations low, you may get a lot of out of the movie, or it might just be that you love it anyway. As we said before, comedy really is subjective, and that’s very much the case with Johnny English Reborn.
In my opinion, in a year where The InBetweeners Movie and Bridesmaids show that laughs of all kinds are possible to generate, I found Johnny English Reborn as a real slog. The most disappointing about the movie is that Rowan Atkinson, a genuine first class comedy talent, continues to do work such as Johnny English Reborn and Mr. Beans. For those who has seen his stand-up and his still-unmatched portrayal of Blackadder, that’s perhaps the most tragic thing of all.