Johnny English

image for Johnny English

Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Sex. Theme. Lang)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Johnny English
  • a review of Johnny English completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 April 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended
Children aged 8-9 Would benefit from parental guidance to assist them with understanding and to debrief any concerns about the violence.
Children over the age of 9 Should be able to watch this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Johnny English
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence, Low level coarse language
Length: 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Johnny English has a desk job for England’s Central Intelligence Service (CI6), and dreams of life as a secret agent. When all of England’s CI6 agents are murdered, Johnny is upgraded to the status of agent, and given the task of guarding England’s crown jewels. Regardless of the high tech security the jewels are stolen from right under the nose of Johnny.

After following the trail of the thieves, Johnny discovers the jewels being loaded into the back of a hearse. Unfortunately for Johnny, he chases the wrong hearse through the streets of London and loses the jewels. Johnny soon discovers that Pascal Sauvage, a French billionaire is responsible for the theft, and decides to search his office, but while attempting the search English is captured by Pascals. Just when all looked bleak, Lorna Campbell, an American secret agent who is also investigating Pascal, rescues Johnny. Johnny and Lorna team up and track Pascal to his castle in France where are captured and Pascal orders them to be shot.

Fortunately for Johnny and Lorna, they manage to escape death in the nick of time, and rush back to England. The remainder of the movie plays out the attempt by Johnny and Laura to stop Pascal in his plans to control England.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

While the violence shown in Johnny English was at times explosive it was mostly unsuccessful with no graphically vivid senses of death or injury. In general, the violence shown had few real life consequences. Any real life consequences were portrayed in a comical manner, especially the damage of property.

Males dominate the use of violence in a battle between good and evil. The exception is the heroine of the film Miss Campbell, who used violence effectively and successfully.

Violent scenes included:

  • guns being pointed at peoples’ heads
  • rockets blowing up red light cameras
  • people being knocked unconscious, drugged, punched and kicked, shot at
  • a dog being threatened with a gun.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children under the age of five might be disturbed by:

  • the violent scenes described above, particularly where the gun is pointed at the head of a dog
  • large and loud explosions
  • loud gun and machine gun fire
  • dangerous car chases

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children within this age range should be able to distinguish the violence presented in Johnny English as comical and not be fearful. However the material identified as scary for younger children may also affect older children depending on their level of exposure to on screen violence.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Early adolescents should be able to distinguish the violence presented in Johnny English as comical and not representing real life.

Sexual references

There is only one scene with sexual references. During a heart to heart, Lorna reveals she has not “made love” for a long time and that she desires Johnny. But as usual, Johnny doesn’t quite get his intended message across, at which point Lorna thanks Johnny for not taking advantage of her vulnerability and the scene ends.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern.

Use of substances

  • There are a couple of scenes involving the sipping of champagne at cocktail parties. There are no scenes involving intoxication.
  • There are two scenes involving the drugging of people, once with the use of a projectile propelling pen, the second through the use of a ring fitted with a drug injecting needle; in both cases the consequences are comical.

Coarse language

Coarse language was used sparingly and usually in connection with violence. Language used included:

  • cock up
  • spent my ass
  • asshole
  • bastards

In a nutshell

The main take home themes are that good triumphs over evil and crime doesn’t pay. Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • endurance through adversity
  • responsibility
  • equal gender roles

Values parents may wish to avoid or discourage include:

  • using violence as a means to an end
  • using lies or deceit in some situations