Johnny English Reborn Movie Poster Image

Johnny English Reborn

(i)

 

Slapstick-heavy spoof features dumbed-down humor for tweens.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

This isn't a message-oriented movie, but kids will learn that with age comes experience, even if the person seems a bit silly at first. 

Positive role models

Johnny has the best of intentions, even though he often makes mistakes on his missions. Agent Tucker never loses faith in Johnny, even when he's been wrongfully denounced.

Violence & scariness

Three character deaths, but each one is portrayed somewhat humorously. Some explosions and gunfire ensue during climactic scenes. There's martial arts sparring at the beginning of the movie as well as one extended "battle," in which Johnny fights a villain with kicks, punches, etc. An elderly woman plays an assassin with a collection of weapons that are hidden inside other objects (vacuum cleaner, suitcase, etc.). Several jokes revolve around Johnny's ability to withstand kicks to the groin.

Sexy stuff

Johnny flirts with Kate; in one scene, she kisses him briefly on the lips.

Language

Infrequently used words include "stupid," "damn," "bloody," "turd," and "good lord." The word "pussy" is used to refer to a cat.

Consumerism

Apple computer and a couple of cars are displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this spy comedy is a sequel to Johnny English, a star vehicle for British comedian Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean). Like The Naked Gun's Frank Drebin, Johnny is a bumbling character who always ends up saving the day -- by accident. There's loads of rough slapstick, as well as weapons, martial arts fighting, explosions, and gun violence, but it's all played for laughs. The sexuality is limited to one brief kiss and some flirting, and the language is fairly mild ("damn," "bloody," "turd").

What's the story?

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is hiding out in the mountains of Tibet, living with monks, when he's suddenly called back into spy duty: Director "Pegasus" (Gillian Anderson) needs English to help uncover a plot to kill the Chinese premier. With young agent Tucker (David Kaluuya) as his apprentice and a beautiful behaviorist (Rosamunde Pike) on board to lend her expertise, English still manages to bungle the mission, which is threatened at every turn by an elderly woman who's actually an assassin. As English and Tucker delve deeper into the assignment, they discover that their colleague (Dominic West) might be involved in the nefarious plot.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Here's hoping Atkinson's next project highlights his acting skills better than this silly spy spoof does. Either you're a fan of Atkinson's brand of slapstick humor or you aren't, and if you can't stand the physical comedy or the gags involving him hitting someone he thinks is a villain but is actually a grandmother -- or the Queen! -- then this isn't a comedy worth seeing. And, frankly, even for Atkinson's fans, this isn't an example of his best work, like Rat Race or Mr. Bean's Holiday. A little dash of Atkinson goes a long way (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral), but an entire film can get tiresome (especially the kicks to the groin) -- even though there will of course be a couple of moments when you can't help but laugh at the absurdity.

 

A small saving grace is the fantastic cast. Anderson is one of America's rare actors who can successfully maintain an English accent, West is an underrated actor who should be cast in more than a throwaway supporting role, and newcomer Kaluuya holds his own as the comedic straight man to Atkinson's zany antics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes spoofs funny. In what way does this movie contain the same elements as a regular spy film like the James Bond movies? How are those aspects turned into comedy?

  • Why do underdog characters, even silly ones like Johnny, elicit audience support? Who are some other cinematic underdogs we laugh with -- and at -- no matter how bumbling they might be?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 21, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date:February 28, 2012
Cast:Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Rowan Atkinson
Director:Oliver Parker
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Adventures
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild action violence, rude humor, some language and brief sensuality

This review of Johnny English Reborn was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Teen spy spoof with gadgets, girls is fun for tweens, teens.
  • Silly and fun, but edgier than the classic TV series.
  • Just the right combination of fantasy and comedy.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byangela2678 October 26, 2011

Funny, but content not appropriate for kids under 12

For the first time ever, I disagree with the age that this site recommended for this movie. Also, the review written by the site is incomplete in its explanation of what sexual content there is. First, there are multiple scenes in which Johnny has boulders tied to his private parts with string. You can't see the parts, of course--but the string goes up under his robe, and it's obvious. There are a LOT of jokes involving men getting kicked in the groin--in fact, the climactic scene hinges on that joke occurring again. Also, the site's review mentions a brief kiss. Actually, the kiss is very long and involved. There is another scene in which a woman partially undresses (into a skimpy bikini) while trying to seduce Johnny and then gets into the hot tub with him. My daughter is 10 (and, truthfully, pretty sheltered), and I think most of that stuff went over her head. But it was uncomfortable, nonetheless. The movie overall was actually funnier than I expected--there were some great scenes. But the content, in my opinion, was far too mature for an 8-year-old, which is the age recommended by Common Sense. Also, it was more violent than I expected. The review mentioned that the people who die do so under "humorous" circumstances, but that is not the case at all. Bottom line: I thought this movie should be rated PG-13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old October 24, 2011

Johnny English Reborn= Must-See Movie!!

Oh my Gosh I absolutley loved this movie!! I think Johnny English is so funny and that this movie is good for kids 8 and up. I think this because there are bad guys and there is some violence and I think the younger audiences might not get the comedy parts. But I think if you go to see this movie you will love it and if you dont think the movie looks good I think you should definetly give it a try!
Adult Written bySezzastar October 27, 2011

An uncomfortable scene.

My partner went to see the film, said it was really good but at no point expected the scene with the woman in the skimpy bikini. Totally innapropriate in my opinion.
What other families should know
Too much sex