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Johnny English

He Knows No Fear. He Knows No Danger. He Knows Nothing. 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

"The name's English. Johnny English". OK, so it doesn't quite have the same ring as it does for the famous, suave and sophisticated secret agent James Bond, but then Johnny English is not that kind of secret agent.  

When all of MI7's agents are accidentally killed off, Johnny English (Atkinson) is ordered to recover the stolen crown jewels from evil egomaniac Pascal Sauvage (Malkovich with a thick French accent), who is forcing his way to becoming king.  Unfortunately, everything English touches goes pear-shaped - much to the bemusement of long-suffering assistant Bough (Miller).

Armed with a highly-customised car, the ultimate in secret intelligence weapons and gadgetry, and aided in their mission by fellow spy Lorna Campbell (Imbruglia), the trio set out to stop Sauvage's dastardly plan.

Rubber-faced Rowan Atkinson does an excellent job reprising his role of the bumbling fool from the hugely successful credit card adverts for this feature-length caper. He turns out a steady performance, relying on his personal brand of physical slapstick and incompetency to generate laughs. This is what he does best, as seen by the success of his TV and film alter-ego, Mr Bean.

Miller is good as side-kick Bough, but his role has been relegated since the adverts. Where he used to save Atkinson's character from various sticky situations, he now has to play second fiddle as Johnny English develops some sort of ability to save the day.

And what would a secret agent film be without a leading-female love interest? James Bond has recently had the kind of Denise Richards and Halle Berry, Austin Powers had Elizabeth Hurley, Heather Graham and Beyonce Knowles.  Johnny English gets Natalie Imbruglia, who leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of bringing a tongue-in-cheek sauciness to her role, the songstress attempts a display of serious acting.

While never quite as funny as it thinks it is, Johnny English still contains a good number of well-worked comic set-pieces and is worth seeing.

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)