As someone who grew up watching Mr. Bean, I cannot help but have fond feelings and a special attachment to Rowan Atkinson. I have to be honest and admit I haven't seen most of his films so whenever I do, I try extra hard to picture him outside of his Mr. Bean character. I think in this case, Atkinson succeeded and steered clear away from his popular alter ego even though I did get a glimpse of Mr. Bean's facial expressions here and there.
Directed by Oliver Parker, Johnny English Reborn is a sequel to the 2003 movie, Johnny English. Rowan Atkinson stars as the awkward and clumsy secret agent Johnny English. After a mission goes haywire in Mozambique, English is dismissed from his job, goes on a self-finding journey and stays in a remote Asian monastery.
He is then called back into service by his boss Pegasus (Gillian Anderson) after her team learns that there is an international plot to assassinate the Chinese Prime Minister, but the person with the information will only speak to Johnny English.
English is reinstated in his old position alongside top agent Simon Ambrose (Dominic West), the beautiful psychoanalyst Kate (Rosamund Pike) and is assigned an assistant/sidekick Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya).
As with almost everything Johnny English takes part in, things don't go according to plan and chaos ensues. English is, naturally and sometimes rightly so, blamed for any blunder in the plan and he is forced to fix things his way, along with his sidekick Tucker.
Atkinson and Kaluuya make a funny duo and their pairing had great chemistry. Rosamund Pike and Simon West, I assume were there to provide us with eye candy, but their characters were relevant to the plot and both did justice to their roles.
I enjoyed most of the action scenes, especially the one that takes place near the beginning of the movie. However, my biggest problem with the film is that most of the plotlines are terribly familiar and have been used (and overused) in hundreds of movies before. Not only does this make it necessary for the filmmakers to create new, interesting and funny ones, but it can be an easy setup for failure.
I would have liked to see more snarky wit and mature humor, which unfortunately the film lacked. Being a spy spoof comedy, it could have benefited from a more mature screenplay to amuse the adults. Perhaps it was meant that way, in order to make it PG friendly.
All in all, it's a light comedy that's entertaining for the whole family. Children (especially those between 6 and 12) will laugh out loud and think this is an exceptionally funny movie. Case in point: the children in the theatre chuckling throughout the film.
Verdict: 3 out of five stars. Borderline cheesy and gauche, but entertaining nonetheless.
– Alya Al-Othman
Photo Credits: Official Website