Johnny English (2003)

Amongst The Funniest Spoofs Of The 2000’s, JE Gets 007 & Spy Genre Cool x Suave Flavor/Edge Down To A Science: Cast, Plot, Gadgets, Girls, Etc. To Show What Can Go Wrong W. The Worst Posible Man On The Job. God Bless Rowan Atkinson. 8.5/10.

Plot Synopsis: Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), a villain intent on stealing Britain’s Crown Jewels, has murdered the country’s top undercover agents, and mediocre spy Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is ordered to prevent further mayhem. But even with help from quick-thinking sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), the goofy agent lands himself in one precarious situation after another. Only when he meets up with Interpol crime-fighter Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia) is Johnny able to chip away at Pascal’s defenses.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

“The Word Mistake Is Not One That Appears In My Vocabulary.” *Proceeds to make every mistake possibly imaginable in the remote aestheticization of the spy genre.* Rowan Atkinson is a man whom needs very little introduction. From BBC Radio to late-night sketch comedy to the legendary acerbic wit and caustic sarcasm of Blackadder to the impossibly-riotous humor transmogrified through Chaplin-esque nontalkie talent of Mr. Bean, R.A. is a master of comedy amongst the top figures of world association with British culture according to many polls. No filmography of U.K. pedigree would be complete without at least a momentous phase with 007 & The Spy Genre, and Atkinson manages to capture yet more comedic lightning in a bottle here – somehow, spoofing and satirizing the very mythical type/lore of cinema it pays homage to, bringing into play remnants of many techniques he gleamed over his early career. From the very opening credits sequence of badass spy music and prototypical theme songs [afar seemingly meshing with the young, apparently-suave agent brimming with ego and overconfidence from the slightest of eyebrow lowering: peak physical comedy] serenading a truly-clueless man who even gets lost on his way to the job interview, the movie is absolutely hilarious. If anything, the film eulogizes how skilled and surgically-precise *actual* secret agents like 007 are [as well as the genre by the preponderance of gadgets, cars, femme fatales, stealth, espionage, and subterfuge in the film: truly reading like a spy film in all aspects except its purposely-miscast lead man].. by poking fun with a nightmare vision of comedy: how wrong it could possibly go with the wrong person’s finger on the trigger, here the wrongest man in the history of her majesty. And the funniest part is: J.E. – for some reason – believes he’s the second coming of Bond-Christ – and has to spend the vast majority of the film diverting attention away from and fixing his own messes in order to protect his ego than actually doing anything on the mission! E.g. mistaking a royal guard for the assailant and knocking him cold, then having to cover by fake-fighting himself (complete with sound effects) behind closed doors and using ketchup for battle wounds. Absolute genius. One of the special things about this movie comedically is how far it takes each gag too – for example, not stopping the laughs at the royal gala that night but even carrying them on and weaving them throughout the rest of the film – having to describe a fake-adversary thug who never existed with the most crazy banana-scar orange wig appearance imaginable, only to see that exact guy in the crowd in a postcredits scene in the finale. A+. J.E. even actually achieves the opposite of help his country by the sheer magnitude of incompetence: literally killing the entire backlog of secret agents in the government when he was the one tasked with [& he claims are in the safest place (and submarine hatch) in England]. Impossibly, the gags keep you laughing as rapid-fire as its uzis the entire brisk length of the film – a testament to its writers but more so the pure, unadulterated brilliance of Rowan Atkinson’s delivery. The plot is – again, surprisingly by the usual scum of the spoof/satire kin of its genre – good, thanks foremost to an inspired Bond-esque villain in John Malkovich’s Pascal Sauvage. Sure, his accent is nauseatingly overdone and inauthentic in its françanglish hybrid [legit maybe our only major problem with the film every time he speaks, besides a few miss-gags of juvenile humor like the poo episode later on], but his motivations and actions are classical, ambitious, and savage in their malevolence – a prison tycoon-magnate billionaire who orchestrates a plot to reign control of the United Kingdom from inside and turn the nation into a dump and prison for the world’s convicts, keeping the rest of the world clean and crime-free at the expense and high treason of a royal family king betraying and killing his own nation (bonus points for Malkovich’s ice-cold demeanor juxtaposed with Bruce Waynian big money facade in dual-persona). The action is exhilarintg too – the filmmakers seemingly forgetting in every other aspect that they were making a spoof instead of a real true-blue entry of the genre in everything except for the lead character whom eventually grows into a good agent he always dreamed of and pretended to be in his apartment, saving the real world.. albeit in the most unorthodox way imaginable.

Official CLC Score: 8.5/10