Sunday, September 25, 2011

Johnny English Reborn

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 23rd September, 2011 (India)
Time : 118 minutes
Director : Oliver Parker; Writer : Hamish McColl, William Davies; Music : Ilan Eshkeri
Starring : Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff, Tim McInnerny

It uses every cliché in the world, lots of slapstick, mixed with some interesting situations, begs us to suspend our thinking cap completely with a plot that is rudimentary and has more holes than my favourite twelve year old vest. And yet, it connects, makes us care for the hero and most importantly, makes us laugh several times.

Its all about Rowan Atkinson and his marvellous acting skills. After a fiasco a few years ago, Johnny is coming to grips with it in the only place secret agents and superheroes seem to find appealing, Tibet, amongst the monks. When he returns at MI7’s behest, our hero with balls of steel (you’ll realize how true this phrase is after watching the film), finds an agency that has changed, has a sponsor and is definitely not so secretive anymore (they actually have check in procedures). There is a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier when he is due to meet the English PM. And Johnny English is the only person who the informant will speak to.

After many accidents (the gardening done with the helicopter), fiasco’s (the revolving chair sticks to the mind as does his beating the mom), chases (especially the Chinese man in Hongkong) and moments of buffoonery (the dance towards the end & the lipstick were both memorable), it finally draws to a rousing close

There is something about Rowan that enables him to pull something like this off. Genial, amiable, with a childlike curiosity, you like him. You therefore cringe when he goofs up and cheer when he, almost despite himself, manages to pull something off. No one amongst the supporting cast really sticks out here and given its weak plot and being almost a one man show ensures this isn’t a classic

Its an expensive film though, no expense spared in terms of sets or locales (like the first one) and despite there being no A list star, it still goes ahead and spends over $40 mn. Wonder when we’ll be able to do the same in India ?

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