Saturday, November 24, 2012

English as She is Spoke

I guess we had to give Rowan Atkinson another chance with Johnny English Reborn. It's not that Johnny English was so bad, it just wasn't that good. Still, we would take even second-rate Rowan Atkinson.

Johnny English is England's most incompetent spy, now in disgrace because of that incident in Mozambique. He has been training in a monastery in Tibet (like Batman! Or Rambo!) waiting to be called back to action. And a case comes up that only he can crack! But I'm going to skip over all that - honestly, I had to read to be reminded that the Chinese premier was involved.

The first Johnny English was a sort of generic spy spoof, with Atkinson as an almost generic bungler. The lack of freshness (as well as the weakness of the jokes) hurt that movie, we thought. This movie has something a little extra: take-offs on just about every spy or action movie you can think of. That includes spoofs of spoofs; I'm pretty sure I caught an extended riff on the Steve Martin Pink Panther. Of course, Johnny English is a bit of a Clouseau figure, but copying the Steve Martin version takes a certain something.

Or maybe they were just stealing the joke.

Anyway, this is not inspired Atkinson, like Mr. Bean or Black Adder - or like Peter Sellers' Pink Panther. But it is still pretty funny, like Steve Martin's Pink Panther.

In conclusion, better than Johnny English.

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