Johnny English (PG)

The Girl from Rio (15)

The Jungle Book 2 (U)

The Little Polar Bear (U)

S Club: Seeing Double (PG)

Le Souffle (15)

Remember those vaguely annoying Barclaycard ads a few years ago in which Rowan Atkinson played a secret service agent who kept fouling things up? Well, someone has had the unpromising idea of stretching them to feature length, and Johnny English is the result. Atkinson is essentially playing an idiot Bond – 007 could be his IQ – exhibiting an incompetence and physical ungainliness reminiscent of his Mr Bean, and not much funnier. What everybody involved seems bent on ignoring is the fact that Mike Myers well and truly cornered this particular market with Austin Powers a long time ago. Who needs this Johnny-come-lately?

The plot concerns the theft of the Crown Jewels by French supervillain Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich) who intends to force the abdication of the Queen and install himself on the throne. Full marks for topicality – French treachery is so very now – but few marks for style or wit. The set-piece coronation, during which the Archbishop of Canterbury is seen to moon before the congregation, is typically leaden in its staging, and the spectacle of the froglike Atkinson copping off with diminutive agent babe Natalie Imbruglia is frankly less credible than John Malkovich as king of England. "You only laugh twice," someone quipped. That's twice more than I did.

Coincidentally, the man who shared Atkinson's finest hour in the Blackadder series also has an underdog comedy out this week. In The Girl From Rio Hugh Laurie plays Raymond, a put-upon bank clerk whose wife (Lia Williams) has run off with his hated boss. In revenge, Raymond empties the bank's vault and flies off with the loot to Rio de Janeiro, where he becomes entangled in a plot involving gangsters and a Samba queen (Vanessa Nunes) – the sort of farcical scenario that Britcoms do so very poorly. (Will we ever learn?) Director Christopher Monger had a hit some years back with the Hugh Grant comedy The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, no great shakes in itself but an absolute corker compared with this tripe.

Easter approaches, and with it a bunch of kids' movies that should give parents at least one afternoon in hell. There's something rather shame-faced about The Jungle Book 2 and its arrival a full 36 years after the original Disney cartoon. Why now? Isn't video the natural habitat for such knock-offs? Mowgli, restless with village life, heads back to the jungle and the company of his old pals for no less than three reprises of "The Bare Necessities," while arch-enemy Shere Khan prowls in the shadows trying (and failing) to imitate the inimitable hauteur of George Sanders.

Tawdry stuff, though not quite as excruciating as the week's other animated feature The Little Polar Bear, based on the children's book by one Hans de Beer, who sounds more like a Dutch football hooligan. This recounts the heart-warming adventures of eponymous polar bear Lars, who not only breaks the ice (as it were) between his own kin and the local seals but heroically wards off ecological disaster by sinking a huge black fishing boat. Personally, I would have happily clubbed Caruso the singing penguin, but tots will probably love him.

Younger viewers may also be tickled by Seeing Double, starring S Club in their very own "band-on-the-run" movie. The plot, if it can be so called, concerns the scheme of a fiendish mastermind to replace the fresh-faced sextet with "popbot" impersonators. Either this is a sly comment on the postmodern obsession with manufacturing popstars or else a cheapjack showcase for the Club's bright, jaunty, perfectly unmemorable tunes. I'm tending to the latter view.

And, finally, something for grown-ups. Shot in grainy monochrome, Le Souffle is an impressively raw, in-your-face account of youth on the cusp of manhood. We are on a farm in the Limousin region of France, where handsome, spotty 15-year-old David (Pierre-Louis Bonnetblanc) drinks wine for the first time over lunch with his uncles and their mates; he wanders off in a drunken haze, goaded by the boredom of rural life and loneliness. First-time director Damien Odoul has a great eye for casual lyricism, such as the funeral David gives a dead rabbit while a donkey stands by as chief mourner, and his intimate observation of the paysan type – jolly, jowly, oddly tender – suggests that la France profonde has found an eloquent new portraitist. And in the lead role Bonnetblanc is outstanding, a livewire crackling with barely understood desires.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering