Monday, 17 October 2011

242: Review - Johnny English Reborn

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Johnny English Reborn poster

Johnny English Reborn
17th October 2011. Location: Cinema

Six times.

The trailer made me think it would be a high number, but even I wouldn't have guessed six.

On six separate occasions in Johnny English Reborn, a male character either receives, or narrowly avoids, a blow to the testicular region for comedic effect. Six.

That's the equivalent of being kicked in the nuts once every seventeen minutes. Which isn't an inaccurate analogy of watching the film, if I'm being honest. You shrug it off the first time; a cheap shot in every sense. Get it out of the way, and move on, yeah? Erm, …what else have you got?

The Good: It's reassuringly charming. There are chuckles in there, just no real laughs. It's all so tried-and-tested by now that you begin to suspect it's been sitting in storage for seven years, waiting for the audience to forget that Mike Myers as already done this, and that it was better than the first Johnny English film. At one point, the introduction of some Chinese enemy-agents had me worried we'd get some old-fashioned casual racism, but in all fairness the film avoids this altogether. There are no nasty surprises in this movie…

The Bad: …there are no surprises at all in this movie. It's like the car that was carrying Ace Ventura 2 crashed into the bus carrying The Naked Gun when a truckload of Austin Powers fell onto them both. Seriously. When it's not 'oh look, my adjustable chair doesn't work properly', it's 'attack an old woman/the Queen in a case of ha-ha-hilarious mistaken identity'

The Ugly: …at least we can rely on Rowan Atkinson to alternate between his Blackadder face and his Mr Bean face at regular intervals. Speaking of which, after about an hour, you're just waiting for it to end, really.

After the credits: Midway through the name-scroll, we get a deleted scene in which Rowan tits about in a kitchen in time to music. Think Morcambe & Wise's 'Breakfast sketch', but without the gags. Part of me is amazed they didn't just insert it into the film anyway.

All in all: It's not completely awful, you've just seen it all before. If you catch it on the telly it'll probably make you smile. If you go and shell out the best part of a tenner to watch it at the cinema? I doubt you'll be smiling as much.

The Final Word: This film is the direct result of a series of Barclaycard adverts. That should tell you all you need to know.


As harmless as it is, three's as high as I can go. I'll try harder when the film does.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


  1. Thank you for the review, glad myself and Kay didn't waste the £14 on tickets! I did hear it was somewhere between Austin and Ace which made me think hmm, so I checked out the reviews and most gave it negative to medium ratings.

  2. You're very, very welcome, sir.