Directed by David Koepp.
Starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Jeff Goldblum and Olivia Munn.
Juggling angry Russians, the British Mi5, and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai races to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain a code that leads to lost Nazi gold.
Mortdecai is an enigma; it is an R-rated attempt at comedy but the slapstick humor plays out like the antics of a children’s movie. This tonal dissonance makes it impossible to identify just who the audience for the movie is. At the end of the day though it probably doesn’t matter, because whether your 7, 27, or 70 you probably aren’t going to find Mortdecai funny.
Johnny Depp plays the titular character, an art smuggler in deep debt. He also imbues this character with what is quite possibly one of the most annoying voices he has ever given one of his idiosyncratic characters. It is such an over-exaggerated British accent that it actually becomes grating to listen to. The worst part is that I think the filmmakers thought that people would find this hilarious. It certainly backfired.
None of the other players in this hunt for a lost famous painting are that interesting either. There is Mortdecai‘s wife (played by Gwenyth Paltrow) whom is falling out of love with him because… wait for it… she can’t stand his new curly mustache. For some reason, the writers also thought it would be funny to insert literally around 50 jokes centered on the mustache, but whether it’s characters pointing out that it looks like a vagina or Mrs. Mortdecai having a gag reflex during a kiss, the jokes are anything but funny.
Moving on, there is a detective of sorts (Ewan McGregor) that is using the case to get closer to Mortdecai‘s wife, as he once loved her and is sensing that the relationship is falling apart. Like everything else in the movie, nothing entertaining comes from it. Then there is Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany) as Mortdecai‘s muscle, who also happens to be irresistible to women. On a related note, the film also (save for Mortdecai‘s wife) depicts every single woman as a sex object or whore.
The biggest issue though is just how lazily constructed the film is; the script constantly piggybacks off of running jokes that weren’t even funny in the first place, along with adding in an excessive use of toilet humor. Some of this could have been mitigated a little bit if the caper plot was an engaging mystery that kept viewers thinking, but it’s actually just incredibly boring with a third act that makes no sense whatsoever. It’s only natural that at that point, the movie also jumps into complete Looney Tunes territory as a gigantic crate falls on Mortdecai, leaving him unharmed.
What most surprises me about this whole experience is that there is an entire line of novels based around this character. I wonder if they too have 4,000 jokes about a mustache. Realistically though, everything about this just screams to be a mixture of bad adaptation and extremely outdated comedic format. There is a part of me that likes to think that if Mortdecai came out 20 years ago when guys like Jim Carrey and Chris Farley were making a living off of slapstick humor, that this too would have gotten a bit of praise, but honestly there is a difference between the two; those movies were actually funny. Mortdecai is just simply horrible.
Maybe you like Johnny Depp doing weird voices and are interested in seeing him with a mustache that gets the butt of over 75% of the jokes in the movie. As esoteric and inconsistent as Mortdecai is, there’s bound to be at least one person out there that finds going from accidentally shooting a bodyguard cartoonishly to an odd sexual joke amusing. If you are that person please let me know, because the one lingering burning fat on my mind after watching this drek is still “who the hell is Mortdecai for”.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. He currently writes for Flickering Myth, We Got This Covered, and Wrestle Enigma. Follow me on Twitter.