Johnny English is a minor officer in British security, he dreams of saving the world and seducing women a la James Bond. His chance comes when his incompetence causes the death of Agent 001, and at 001's funeral, the rest of the 00 agents in Britain.
It seems someone is after the British Crown jewels. Pascal Sauvage, John Malkovich, is a billionaire operator of private prisons, he's also a philanthropist. He's funded the refurbishment of the jewels and at their unveiling Johnny English is assigned to protect them. Natalie Imbruglia plays Special Agent Lorna Campbell charmingly despite her character being underwritten, and British comedian Ben Miller is an effective straight man as English?s assistant. Malkovich camps it up with a frightfully phony French accent.
The character of English is based on a series of commercials Atkinson made for a British credit card company. It's not a great basis for a film and despite the efforts of screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade who wrote the last two Bond films and director Peter Howitt of Sliding Doors fame, Johnny English is just not funny enough.
I loved the grossness of Mr. Bean, in this Atkinson takes himself just a bit too seriously. The Bond films are already a parody, you have to be very clever to top them. Neither Bond nor Austin Powers need worry at all.