Johnny English

Drinking Games

It’s been almost a decade since the first Johnny English movie tore up the box office internationally and fizzled on American soil. But with that international success, it was inevitable there would be a sequel. Though, the spy film genre has changed with the Bourne films and James Bond reboot redefining its style, as well as the spy spoof movies (including the first Johnny English and the entire Austin Powers franchise) a thing of the past. That didn’t stop Rowan Atkinson from reprising his role as bumbling MI-7 agent Johnny English in the sequel Johnny English Reborn, which had similar success overseas and similar failure here in the U.S. Still, fans of Atkinson’s comedy should enjoy this new installment in the series. And for those who aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy it, try watching it with a martini, shaken, not stirred.

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It should come as absolutely no surprise that understanding (and potentially even enjoying) Johnny English Reborn does not necessitate any sort of familiarity with the first film, though moviegoers who are acquainted with Rowan Atkinson’s particular brand of idiot-in-the-wild humor will likely find a few more chuckles in the film than those who are not. Atkinson reprises his role as dumb bunny “MI-7” spy Johnny English for the film, picking up after the action of 2003’s eponymously named Johnny English, which saw him prevail against all odds (most notably, his complete lack of skill and overinflated confidence). But English is now in disgrace, self-exiled to a monastery in Tibet after a job gone awry inMozambique (English’s failure there made international headlines – my favorite of which being a rag’s pronouncement that the entire operation should be called “Doh’zambique”). English is attempting to re-center himself through rest, mediation, and literally dragging a stone around by his balls, so it’s probably welcome news when a former associate comes forth with intel about a shady assassination trio. “Vortex” is bent on offing the Chinese premier, but American agent Fisher (Richard Schiff) will only talk to English. Suddenly, the world’s dumbest spy is back in action and essential to planetary peace.

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As a somewhat strange child, I loved Rowan Atkinson‘s Mr. Bean television series. That one bit where he tries to eat lunch in the park? Killed me as a tot. Which is to say, that series was pretty much the pinnacle of Rowan Atkinson’s humor, at least for me. And, no, we don’t speak of the Mr. Bean movie (just Bean!) in this house. What, Mr. Bean’s Vacation? You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me. But Bean isn’t Atkinson’s only inscrutable character crafted from limited intelligence, raised eyebrows, and the driest of British humor. There’s also Johnny English, Rowan’s idiot special agent character. And now he’s back for another adventure! Which, I’m pretty sure that no one asked for, but the first film did make a staggering $160m at the box office (worldwide, naturally). Thus, we get Johnny English Reborn, another outing for the world’s dumbest spy. It’s not quite shaking, and I’m definitely not stirred. Check out the trailer after the break, and remember the Bean glory days, like that time he got his wee car stuck in the car park.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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