(Rowan Atkinson, Natalie Umbruglia, Ben Miller / PG / 93 mins / Universal)
Overview: Rowan Atkinson stars as Johnny English, a bumbling British agent sent to rescue the crown jewels and save the monarchy from the scheming Frenchman Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich). Singer Natalie Imbruglia makes her big-screen debut as Lorna Campbell, a special agent whom English fancies.
Verdict: Failing to add anything new to an already exhausted wave of the spoof movie, ’Johnny English’ offers a predictable, unpleasing and generally disappointing ride through the world of the (you guessed it) British Spy. Hence Rowan Atkinson in the role of English is at times funny, but this is not laugh out loud humor. More a movie that indicates and sets up gags well before their time. Director Peter Howitt relies on gross out comedy as the film’s main component, which at times is more uneasy to watch than funny.
The sad thing about this film is that it will probably be a success at the box office, which begs the question why?! The film offers little to audiences as essentially this is ‘Mr. Bean’ (Aitkinson’s former glory) in the role of James Bond. Which sounds funny, but isn’t. If the spoof genre is to maintain a place in comedy cinema, then leave it to the comedy genius of directors like Jay Roach (Austin Powers) and Richard Donner (Naked Gun) and put this overblown drabble back on the shelf where it belongs.
Review by Daniel McCarthy