Bugger!!! School holidays and the cinema was packed with school kids...and not of the teenaged variety, but younger!! Suffice to say the session of Johnny English Reborn that I wished to see was sold out, as was The Smurfs!! But wild horses could not have pulled me into a session with the Smurfs..........EVER!! Fortunately I went along to the next session which was attended by only 15 people. It is funny, because even though I knew it was school holidays it didn't cross my mind that Johnny English was a movie that would attract the younger set.
Now I can't recall if I have seen the original Johnny English or not. I certainly didn't see it in a cinema. But I do recall it being on telly, but I just remember if I watched it or not. Never mind because with this being Rowan Atkinson I pretty much knew what I was going to get. In essence the character of Johnny English is a parody of that all quintessential English spy, James Bond. Over the years the Bond films have been copied and parodied many, many times. As I watched Johnny English Reborn thoughI couldn't help escape the knowledge of how parodies have missed so much of the self parody there is in the Bond films themselves. Before the Daniel Craig films the franchise didn't take itself too seriously. In fact much of the comedy in the Bond films far surpasses that of Johnny English Reborn.
Right throughout this film I chuckled a lot but I didn't laugh out loud. I have during Bond films, but as a genuine comedy Johnny English Reborn is all a bit....well......flat. The kids in the theatre with me had a few laugh aloud moments, but generally it was a movie that the audience chuckled at rather than laughed at. For me I'm just not sure who the target audience was. Overall it isn't quite there as an adult orientated comedy and even as a kids comedy it just isn't laugh out loud funny enough.
Now we all know Rowan Atkinson is one of our generation's great comedians. His Mr. Bean character is endearingly popular and genuinely funny. Fortunately with Johnny English Atkinson doesn't reprise the facial expressions of Mr. Bean but still uses that face to great effect. I love the nervous twitch of his eyes as his last failed mission in Mozambique is referred to in front of him. But overall Atkinson plays it fairly straight as Johnny English and lets the dialogue do much of the work. I liked this because much of Atkinson's humour has been his facial expressions and to be honest I'm not sure he could squeeze anymore laughs out of it. Certainly not enough for 111 minutes of Johnny English cum Mr. Bean anyway.
So we get all sorts of sight gags that really parody the Bond films well. One scene is like a trip to the Bond's 'Q' Branch. We see English fiddle with all the 'gadgets' which leads to all sorts of silly foul ups. Very much in keeping with any of the scenes in the Bond films. The whole film has innumerable nods to what it is paroding. Any Bond aficionado will instantly recognise them all. They aren't just dialogue gags either. In fact most are sight gags and it was almost like 'pick the Bond film'. I mean there is a Swiss mountain lair that is an obvious reference to that of Blofeld's in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. At one stage English dons a parachute for an audacious Bond like jump ( which ends in a funny Bond like landing on a snow mobile! ) I won't go into too many as it will give too much away. But as a Bond fan it was fun spotting the nods to individual Bond moments, scenes and films.
The cast is a good as well. Gillian Anderson and Dominic Cooper are not mugs. Anderson in particular made me laugh as she was an obvious choice to parody Dame Judi Dench as ' M '. Even ' M 's speech to Pierce Brosnan's Bond in Goldeneye about him being a dinosaur was parodied by Anderson's character. Bond fans you know which one I'm referring to!! But my eyes were all for the lovely luscious, luscious, luscious, Jesus, did I mention luscious, Rosamund Pike!! By god does that woman ever age?? How is it she gets sexier the older she gets??! Yep she is lush all right and looked absolutely yummy in a nice tight blue dress that accentuated well......everything!! Tall damn blonde goddess that she is! So I suppose she was an 'English' girl and not a 'Bond' girl huh?!!!!!!!
So yeah that's it!! I mean overall this isn't a poor film by any means. It is a wonderful parody of the Bond franchise that is a quiet homage at the same time. The Bond films are an unequalled phenomenon and Johnny English Reborn acknowledges that by not belittling Bond but by honouring him in a humorous way. But somehow whilst the film is fun, and has many, many spot the Bond moments, it just isn't funny enough. The comedy is too light to be genuinely funny and is neither here nor there for either an adults movie or kids movie. I think it is trying to cover both bases but didn't quite cover either.
To be honest whilst Johnny English Reborn is fun it really isn't worth rushing off to a cinema to see. I liked it but really if you wait for it to come out on DVD or play on telly it will be the better and cheaper bet. 5.5/10 from me just because it is chuckle worthy but not laugh out loud funny enough. But all the same still nice to see Rowan Atkinson back on the big screen after a lengthy hiatus.