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Johnny English



Fine (if pretty dumb) British slapstick for tweens.
  • Review Date: January 11, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Vague messages about good vs. evil, but all played for laughs. Some potty humor.

Positive role models

The main character is a bumbling fool whose intentions might be in the right place, but he's such a fool that he's certainly no role model.

Violence & scariness

Comic peril including shooting and fighting, no one hurt.

Sexy stuff

A bare bottom meant for laughs; mild sexual references.


Some potty talk and a few instances of "ass."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are a few strong words ("ass") and some bathroom jokes in this slapstick comedy. Some spy adventure peril including guns, but no blood or intense violence. Kids not familiar with the long-term French-English political and cultural clashes may be confused by the animosity between the French and English characters.

What's the story?

Rowan Atkinson plays JOHNNY ENGLISH, a low-level bureaucrat in England's spy service who dreams of being a field agent. When all of the agents are wiped out through his ineptitude, he gets his chance. England's crown jewels have been stolen by French zillionaire Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), who plans to take over England and turn it into a prison facility. It's up to Johnny English, his sidekick Bough (pronounced "Boff") and woman of mystery (Natalie Imbruglia) to save the day.

Is it any good?


Johnny English as mild spy parody has nothing new, but Rowan Atkinson ("Mr. Bean") is a gifted comedian who manages to wring some new laughs with material that has already been fully explored in movies from Our Man Flint and Dean Martin's Matt Helm movies to Spy Hard, and Mike Meyers' Austin Powers series.

The spy parts aren't exciting enough and the funny parts aren't funny enough, but the overall effect is mildly amusing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how comedy can diffuse violence. How owuld this movie's violence have affected you differently if it wasn't portrayed humorously?

  • What kind of character is Johnny English? Is he a hero?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 18, 2003
DVD release date:January 13, 2004
Cast:John Malkovich, Natalie Imbruglia, Rowan Atkinson
Director:Peter Howitt
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:comic nudity, some crude humor and language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byLindavanG April 9, 2008

Not as kid-friendly as you might think

As I looked for an end of summer movie to take my kids to, Johnny English was the only PG comedy I could find. My seven year old son was asking to leave before it was over. The newspaper reviews said 7-14 year olds would be giggling throughout, but most jokes are over the heads of 7 year olds. My son thought there was too much violence, although it was not real graphic. Older children may just think it is stupid.
Adult Written bysumodra April 9, 2008

Very Funny, Good Movie for the whole family

Teen, 14 years old Written byladybug! April 9, 2008

Great Family Comedy

Rowen Atkinson is the classic Mr. Bean, so take Mr. Bean and put a little twist to it. Out comes Jonny English! It is the adventure spy story with some laugh out loud jokes. Its sure to put a smile in your face.


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