There is something about Ian Fleming's English superspy James Bond that invites parody. Even before Sean Connery made his debut as Agent 007 in 'Dr No', there was already the merciless spoof 'Casino Royale'; and from 'Goldfinger' on, the formula for the Bond franchise had become so fixed (the gadgets, the cars, the good and bad girl, the villain, the martinis) that each new instalment in the series began to seem a parody of its predecessors. Of course there have also been many American parodies, like 'Our Man Flint' and more recently 'Austin Powers' - and now, with 'Johnny English', Britain is offering its own belated entry to the already overcrowded market in spy send-ups.
When all the secret agents for MI7 are assassinated, bumbling analyst Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is called into active service to prevent the Crown Jewels from being stolen. Aided by his considerably more competent assistant Bough (Ben Miller), and by the mysterious Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia), English stumbles upon the plans of French entrepreneur Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich) to usurp the throne and turn Britain into an island prison - the (apparently unintended) irony being that this unspeakably wicked scheme is exactly what England did to Australia two centuries earlier.
Impressively, two of the writers of 'Johnny English' have also worked on recent Bond scripts - yet the credentials which their involvement brings to the film should, like the false passports which Bond so often uses, in no way be trusted. This film is BAD. A series of spectacularly un-funny, sub-Inspector Clouseau shenanigans leads to a parade of British anxieties about loss of sovereignty to Johnny Foreigner. The Queen-worshipping, Europe-hating jingoism on display here, along with the pooh-jokes, is strictly for children and readers of 'The Sun' only - although no doubt it will also play well with an American market, where French-baiting is currently plat du jour. Everyone else, however, is advised to stay well away.
It's time to set aside any residual affection one may feel for Rowan Atkinson's past comic glories as Blackadder, or even as Mr Bean, and to recognise 'Johnny English' as the laugh-free xenophobia that it is. Double-O Zero.
Anton Bitel (Unverified), 14/04/03
I think the movie is a masterpiece. It has some cultural flavour (as Mr. Bean) but it is entertaining and something you want to watch again and again. Some my friends who don't like Mr.Bean did not go to watch Johnny E., and I think the movie advertisers should make the message clear, - it is not the same.
Omar Hayam (Unverified), 04/11/09
We've watched this film 31 times, and we will continue watching it whenever we feel low. The movie makes everyone happy, forget problems for a while, and afterwards say . . . Thank you God for creating Johnny! We really love it. We can already sing "Man for All Seasons", really makes us happy. We hope for its part II.
jocas (Unverified), 09/10/07
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