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Johnny English

By Tom Siebert | Posted

A lazy and tiresome by-the-numbers spy spoof starring British slapstick comedian Rowan Atkinson. The mere idea of Mr. Bean playing James Bond is intrinsically funny, but that's as far as the filmmakers go. You can see every Get Smart gag coming, and too often they take their time getting there. No doubt U.K. citizens got a bigger kick out of the plot, which hinges on a French billionaire (John Malkovich, oozing unctuousness) and his attempt to steal the queen's crown jewels and set a dastardly conspiracy in motion. Atkinson, probably the weirdest-looking guy ever to get his name above the title, wins a couple laughs doing his usual schtick, but the wasted opportunities and derivative jokes pile up quickly. Malkovich is pretty funny, and it's a shame he wasn't given more to do. As the girl, pop tartlet Natalie Imbruglia is just pretty, not funny. Anonymously directed by Peter Howitt (far, far away from Sliding Doors) and written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, also responsible for the past couple 007 flicks (!).

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