The spy genre is incredibly well known and expansive. In fact, the tropes of the genre, and the James Bond films in particular, are so well worn that the spy spoof (even the James Bond spoof) is not new. Also not new is the comic genius of Rowan Atkinson. The star of Blackadder and Mr. Bean has repeatedly proven himself to be utterly brilliant through the years. Of course, not everything a good comic touches turns to gold, even in a well known and accepted genre, and in Atkinson's second outing as Johnny English we get a perfect example of that.
The sequel to 2003's Johnny English (also starring Atkinson), Johnny English Reborn features the titular hero returning to the spy game after being fired following a disastrous mission. Although he is happy to return, very few in the audience will be.
Most simply put, English is a bumbling oaf, a fool who manages to sail by mostly by virtue of being in the right place at the right time. That is not to say that he doesn't have some skills, he most certainly does, but he's still relatively unintelligent.
In a nutshell, that's why this film fails to work. As a character, English is half-Clouseau, half-Bond and the film is half-spoof, half-straight. The result of this is that one minute you're getting a perfect, empty replica of a high-gloss spy story and then the next you're getting a moment from the worst of the Clouseau series. English even sports a Dreyfus-like eye twitch from time to time. Watching the film you're never quite sure if you ought to be laughing at it or embarrassed for it – is what you're seeing on screen yet another joke that has fallen flat or is it supposed to be one of the straight spy moments? It is regularly unclear.