As if there weren’t currently enough reasons to be horribly embarrassed by all things English, Johnny English Reborn is now on Netflix.
This 2011 sequel opens with Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) training in Tibet in a Batman Begins parody that’s not even as funny as Atkinson’s oddly similar Snickers advert. Having been transformed from Bean to Bond, English is summoned by MI7 to investigate a plot to assassinate the Chinese Premier; something I pray this film never had.
The original Johnny English didn’t have the most inspiring plot either, but what it had was Rowan Atkinson doing some funny Rowan Atkinson physical comedy. The sequel fails to meet the bare minimum requirement of a Johnny English movie; having Johnny English in it.
Here the character is just a regular bloke. He’s still a bit of an idiot but not in a remotely funny or slapstick way. It should really be called Not Johnny English for the sake of accuracy. Atkinson barely so much as moves his face, one of his greatest comic assets.
The jokes have all been replaced by generic action scenes and plot that seems based entirely around Atkinson’s desire to drive cars and play golf, resulting in an awkwardly serious tone punctuated only by people getting hit in the balls. This happens so much in fact that the climax (spoiler alert) literally involves two characters repeatedly kicking each other in the balls.
Not only is this a waste of Atkinson’s talents, but also Gillian Anderson, Richard Schiff, Tim McInnerny and Daniel Kaluuya as English’s assistant (you know it’s bad when Ben Miller doesn’t want to be involved). Bond girl Rosamund Pike also appears as English’s love interest in humourless romantic scenes that are frankly creepy.
Johnny English ReYawn is depressingly unfunny; the only thing about it that says “comedy film” is the budget.