Directed by Peter Howitt starring Rowan Atkinson, Natalie Imbruglia, John Malkovich and Ben Miller.
With his love of ABBA, bad dress sense and inability to put one foot in front of the other without falling over, there's more chance of the MI-7 tea boy becoming a field agent than pen pusher Johnny English (Atkinson). But when Britain's top spies are bumped off (thanks in no small part to his own incompetence) English and office mate Bough (Miller) find themselves next in line to do their bit for Queen and Country. The top secret lark proves tougher than they thought however, and within 24 hours they've got on the wrong side of conniving French industrialist Pascal Sauvage (Malkovich)and bungled a protection job on the Crown Jewels - thus helping kickstart an evil plan to get rid of the royal family.
Atkinson first brought the Johnny English character to life in a series of credit card ads in the early 90s and the film feels like a series of commercials joined together for an-hour-and-a-half. The screwball plot also involves turning Britain into a prison, cloning the Archbishop of Canterbury clone and Imbruglia as the mystery woman, but Howitt pitches smart and sledgehammer gags for both adults and kids. There are some good ones too: English's attempt to impress an MI-7 secretary leaves her critically ill while a night time heist will make you laugh out loud next time you see Bond onscreen. Atkinson's talent of making even breathing look funny shines throughout, but Miller - no slouch when it comes to timing – and Malkovich deserved to get more of a look-in. Instead we get Imbruglia whose comedic talents are way behind her gift of making grown men cry.
20 years on, it still seems that nothing will ever beat the genius of the Val Kilmer-fronted spoof 'Top Secret', but after the fiasco of the last 'Austin Powers' movie, this is fun.
Maybe Howitt and Atkinson shouldn't push their luck with a sequel, though.