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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Why does this film exist? It is a sequel to a mixed-reviewed movie made eight years after the fact. I realize the first Johnny English was profitable (and, I’ll admit, I enjoyed it for what it was), but what caused the filmmakers to wait eight years to make a follow-up, especially one that has little to no connection to the first beyond Rowan Atkinson? Personally, I don’t know. Yet, it exists.
Perhaps it was just a matter of getting all the ducks in a row and schedules to open for a sequel to happen (much like how production of the upcoming Star Trek 12 had been delayed). You’d think, though, that after eight years, the filmmakers would have pieced together a solid, if not improvement over the original, sequel. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Johnny English Reborn.
Though occasionally amusing, I just didn’t laugh that much. I appreciate Atkinson’s ability for slapstick. His continuous flubs, sight-gags, and pratfalls mixed with his unwavering seriousness are unparalleled with any actor working today. However, it all just seems so tame, and it is all stuff we have seen a million times before. Not that a movie like this needs to be edgy to be relevant; it just seemed like they didn’t push it hard enough. Nothing about it seemed fresh. I know my views might seem somewhat odd given my love for the Three Stooges. I think a lot has to do with the fact that by the time I became aware of Atkinson, I sort of outgrown that type of comic humor for me to really be taken with it.
That said I did appreciate some of the satirical touches the movie had (such as the modernization of the British secret service with it being run by Toshiba) and wished they did more of that. I also enjoyed the “look” Atkinson had in the film, particularly his hair style. It was very reminiscent of Sean Connery in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again (which, coincidentally, also starred Atkinson). I’m sure this was intentional given both films centering around an older agent coming back for one more go-around.
In the end, there is nothing particularly offensive about this movie. It is perfectly serviceable, and it is worth checking out if you come across it on television or are in the mood for this kind of comedy. Maybe this would have worked better as a shorter skit (much like Atkinson’s Mr. Bean show). Interestingly enough, the film was a financial success. Maybe it’s a British thing.