A little intelligence goes a long way
Running Time: 101 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: France, United Kingdom, United States
The standard response upon seeing the film trailer for a sequel to the spectacularly middle-of-the-road spoof rehash Johnny English must have been – poor old Rowan Atkinson, things are getting that desperate.
Atkinson returns as bumbling British spy Johnny English. After taking some time out of the spy game and finding himself spiritually in a Tibetan monastery, English returns at the request of the Head of MI6 (Anderson) to foil a dastardly plot to kill the Chinese Premier. As he fights to take down this international conspiracy, English is helped and hindered by CIA agent Titus Fisher (Schiff), Brit spy Simon Ambrose (West) and ravishing and serious special agent Kate Sumner (Pike).
If the jokes in the first one were signposted for the most mentally handicapped in society then the attempted chuckles here have been blown up and projected on the side of the Houses of Parliament and then surrounded by colourful can-can dancers along with a firework display. Johnny English resorts to slapstick for the sake of it too often, like an out-of-control spy wheelchair and another mixed up medicine gag that are cringeworthily bad but will probably appeal to the less sophisticated of the global audience to whom it is obviously aimed (like the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea or the tiny Atlantic island of Terceira).
Johnny English is still not as bad as the component parts suggest as it gives off a likeable quality and charm and there are some funny moments and one or two real gems amongst the bile. Unfortunately, Oliver Parker’s movie is too anachronistic for today’s audiences who expect more from a comedy.
It's Got: A few genuinely funny moments, many laughs you can see a mile off, too much slapstick
It Needs: To be edgier, to be the end of the series, to make a lot of money in Papua New Guinea
Despite having some amusing moments, Johnny English is too sanitised and features too much unfunny slapstick to appeal to even a semi-sophisticated audience. Hopefully it’s not the death knell for Rowan Atkinson.