Sure, it’s been done.
The bumbling spy who does everything wrong, yet gets everything right; the wry English humor; the sinister megalomaniac villain. The formula is there; all it needs is some actors.
And actors it’s got: Rowan Atkinson (no longer in his Mr. Bean guise but still with the same physical humor), Natalie Imbruglia (Australian soap star turned one-hit-wonder with 1998’s “Torn”-turned movie star) and John Malkovich (yes, he’s being John Malkovich).
When all of England’s secret agents are killed, English, the least qualified but most enthusiastic member of the British intelligence, is the only spy left. He takes on the mission to find out who stole Britain’s Crown Jewels. Among his suspects are a beautiful mystery woman (Imbruglia) and a —— Frenchman (Malkovich).
There’s not much to the plot, at times it’s even a little far fetched, but Atkinson makes the film a classic comedy hit.
What We Said Then:
This spoof on spy thrillers, such as James Bond, stars Rowan Atkinson in what he does best — sketch comedy. The film exploits Atkinson’s amazing ability to make people laugh simply by using his face. Many sequences are based solely on Atkinson’s physical comedy. The film employs the classical British approach to humor and may not have hit the hot spot in the United States. The humor is priceless and almost the entire movie is comprised of laughs.
Avid fans of Mr. Bean will find Johnny English an absolute gem. The DVD, with a sufficient amount of extras, will also not disappoint.
Included on the disc are, as on almost all DVDs ever released, the deleted scenes. This disc contains only a few. It seems that the film was made almost exactly the way it was envisioned.
To accompany the obligatory feature is a thorough description of the “Making of Johnny English.” The featurette treats the film with utter seriousness, describing the special effects used in the film and the stunts performed. It shows, for once, Atkinson as an actor rather than just a comic.
“Spy Tips,” lasting no more than two minutes, is a humorously filmed and edited lesson to those aspiring to become a spy like English — silly and bumbling. The character profiles, which is another comic feature, is slightly underdeveloped, but none the less, when studied carefully, very funny.
Johnny English is not a high-minded film. It wasn’t, and the reason why is unfathomable, even, a hit at the box office. But it was one of the funniest films of the summer and now, with enough extras to keep the viewers laughing, it’s becoming one of the funniest releases in the last few weeks.