Johnny English (Atkinson) is a third-string spy working for British intelligence. When his uncontrollable bungling blows up all of England's first- and second-string spies, English is the only hope to save the precious crown jewels (and his country) from the plot of evil French mastermind Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich). Along the way, fellow spy Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia -- okay, so English isn't really the last spy in Britain, which raises questions best left unanswered) steps in to give English and his less moronic assistant, Bough (Ben Miller), a hand.
The fact that this film is only 88 minutes long is testament to the thin material English has to work with. At times (such as when Malkovich speaks with his absurd approximation of a French accent), this movie feels 88 minutes too long. Even so, there are a few funny moments. Though I don't remember actually laughing aloud more than once, several children in the theater giggled constantly throughout the picture, which makes plenty of sense given the amount of poo humor splattered over the last third of the script.
Johnny English is funniest when Atkinson sticks to physical comedy, spastically gyrating about in his underpants. The rest of the time, the jokes are telegraphed so far in advance that they simply arrive as expected and are hardly worth noticing. In the end, the movie suffers from the same barrier that the motion picture Bean did. But the barrier isn't just cultural. Sometimes, what passes for entertainment on television is a complete waste of time on the big screen.
Class, nonstop, all the way.
Run time: 87 mins
In Theaters: Friday 18th July 2003
Box Office USA: $28.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $160.6M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, StudioCanal
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 79
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: Peter Howitt
Producer: Tim Bevan
Starring: Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English, John Malkovich as Pascal Sauvage, the Greedy Frenchman, Natalie Imbruglia as Lorna Campbell, Tasha de Vasconcelos as Countess Alexandra - Exotic Woman, Ben Miller as Bough, English's Sidekick, Greg Wise as Agent One, Douglas McFerran as Carlos Vendetta, Steve Nicolson as Dieter Klein, Terence Harvey as Official at Funeral, Kevin McNally as Prime Minister, Tim Pigott-Smith as Pegasus, Head of MI7, Nina Young as Pegasus' Secretary, Rowland Davies as Sir Anthony Chevenix, Philippa Fordham as Snobby Woman, Tim Berrington as Roger, Simon Bernstein as Assailant