Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH (2003) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH (2003)


Another James Bond-style spoof but JOHNNY ENGLISH can't even stand on its own ground in the vein of what AUSTIN POWERS and SPY KIDS has succeed admirably.

This witless, yet pointless vehicle for Rowan Atkinson in MR. BEAN mode starts out with him playing as the title character, Johnny English who is a low-level office employee working at the fictitious MI-7. Soon he gets his golden opportunity to venture himself into the exciting world of international espionage when suave departmental superstar Agent One (Greg Wise) is killed in action and the next dozen of his successors to Agent One's license to kill are blown up at his ill-secured funeral.

Despite certain misgivings, Pegasus (Tim Pigott-Smith) promotes English and assigns him to the task of protecting the royal crown jewels, which have undergone a multimillion dollar restoration and are being unveiled at an exclusive party hosted by French prison magnate Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), who underwrote the project. Things get out of hand when the jewels are stolen right out from under English's nose and he and his partner, Bough (Ben Miller) must find every which way they can to retrieve the jewels back immediately. On the course of their investigation, they find out that Sauvage has actually intends to usurp the British crown so he can announce himself as a king so he can rule England whichever way he desires. Joining English as well, is the sexy but tough Lorna Campbell (pop star Natalie Imbruglia), and together they must stop Sauvage before it's all too late.

Less vulgar than AUSTIN POWERS and less creative impact than SPY KIDS, this film relies heavily on Rowan Atkinson's idiotic gags to do most of the laugh. Although Atkinson has no problem on making himself such a complete idiot, every gag offers here worked out the same way over and over again it doesn't take long before everything is started to get tired and routine altogether. Much of the potty humor and pratfalls are uninspired, and director Peter Howitt seems to put little effort to improve the premise of the film without any satisfying conviction. While he does manage to keep the movie moving briskly, there is this measure of thought in which you might find yourself watching the seemingly longest 88 minutes of your life to see the course of Atkinson's ridiculous action doing the followings: arching his eyebrows, affecting funny voices, rolling his pop-eyes and so on.

It is also funny to see the plot, written by William Davies, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade) is actually the same team who brought Pierce Brosnan-era Bond movies, doesn't have much refreshing idea to spoof a spy thriller but instead relying on every formulaic gag they can possibly get from the recent similar spoof version.

Rowman Atkinson is terribly pathetic here, and the rest of the actors, sad to say, are more of the same. Natalie Imbruglia's feature movie debut manages to bring both sex appeal and elegance that is perfectly idealistic to a sexy agent role but her character here is underwritten. John Malkovich, on the other hand, fares even worst, with his god-awful French accent that his villainous role is perhaps his worst character ever tackled in his acting career.

JOHNNY ENGLISH is a big letdown, although the sight of psychedelic decor and the swinging soundtrack that features Robbie Williams' song A Man for All Seasons are throughout impressive, can't retain much in the end.

No comments: