Film #52: Johnny English (2003)

Directed by: Peter Howitt
Language: English with some French & Japanese
Length: 88 mins
Watched on: 3 Mar 2012

This is technically a rewatch, since I guess I saw the film in the cinema when it came out. It’s been a while, though. Notably, I’m now coming at the film from an adult perspective, rather than that of a 15-year-old; and I think the 15-year-old me enjoyed it a lot more than the 24-year-old me did.

Let’s face it, this was always going to be lowest common denominator humour, only a couple of steps up from Mr Bean. And if you really want a James Bond spoof, you’re better off watching something like Austin Powers.

It has its moments, for sure; there’s one sequence where the characters lose control of their muscles or something, which was very funny, but Rowan Atkinson’s talent for physical humour wasn’t given enough airtime apart from those moments.

As for the actual plot, it’s completely ridiculous, but does achieve the certainly admirable goal of getting John Malkovich as a crrrrazy Frrrenchman hell-bent on tricking the Queen into abdicating and thereby obtaining the throne of England. Because, you know, that would totally give him any power at all. Why the French, anyway? Haven’t we flogged that horse to death several times already, or do we really have to remind ourselves that the French used to be enemies of the English? But I guess this story was chosen to be hilariously apolitical and nothing like anything that’s likely to happen in real life (because that way you do have the legitimate concern of pissing people off with an inappropriate storyline…).

One other funny thing about the film was seeing Natalie Imbruglia playing the suave Bond-girl, simply because nobody’s heard from her really since then. It kinda serves to date the film a little bit…

Anyway, I heard there’s a Johnny English 2 out recently. I don’t think I’ll be seeing it. That’s not to say this film is that bad, it’s just not worth seeking out.


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