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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


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Movie Review

Spy spoof has a license to bore

By BILLY NORRIS
Published July 21, 2003

Johnny English

Rating: PG

Summary: After an accident kills all the agents in the British Secret Service, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson, the silly Mr. Bean) and his sidekick, Bough (Ben Miller), are the only "agents" left to carry out a top-secret mission to protect the crown jewels. But they are stolen, and Johnny, not the most suave or sophisticated candidate, must recover them.

Johnny encounters a mysterious woman (Natalie Imbruglia) whose motives are unclear. As he searches , he discovers a ploy to turn the country into a prison wasteland, headed up by the criminal who stole the jewels, Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), a Frenchman with an extreme distaste for Great Britain.

My view: Advertised as a cross between Bean and Bond, this film came off as a little less of the former and a little more of the latter. What I couldn't determine was whether this was intended as a spoof of the Bond films or a tribute to them (Johnny even drove an Aston Martin). It's extremely odd to view Atkinson, known for his bumbling off-the-wall Mr. Bean character, in a role that encompasses even the slightest amount of seriousness. The best way to describe the film is hot and cold. There is a fine line between hilarity and stupidity, and the plot wavers between the two. Malkovich's cheesy French accent didn't score this movie any points either!

Recommendations: Except for a humorous scene with a bare rear end, this movie is tame and it's also lukewarm given all of the other movie choices out there right now.

Grade: C

- Billy Norris, 15, will be in the 10th grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

[Last modified July 18, 2003, 14:20:14]

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