REVIEW: “Mortdecai”

Mort poster

Life is full of important questions. Does Donald Trump really think his hair looks good? Will Tom Cruise ever age? Do people actually watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”? But perhaps the most perplexing question is this – what has happened to Johnny Depp? And to go a bit further, what is driving him to pick such wretched projects these days? Over the years Depp has chosen a wide variety of weird and eccentric roles. But since his last “Pirates” movie, several of his choices have been…well…suspect.

Simply put, “Mortdecai” is his worst yet. It’s an appallingly unfunny action comedy fueled by lazy humor, juvenile gags, and its absurdly creepy main character. The film is based on a book series by English novelist Kyril Bonfiglioli. There were several books in the series which makes me think there was some decent material there. But screenwriter Eric Aronson doesn’t capture anything interesting or entertaining.

Mortdecai (Depp) is a shady art dealer and charlatan who, along with his high maintenance wife JoHanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), is financially strapped due to heavy tax debt. Inspector and old college acquaintance Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) comes to Mortdecai to help find a stolen rare Goya painting in exchange for settling his tax debt with the government. Along with his trusted manservant Jock (Paul Bettany), Mortdecai globetrots around the world, encounters a variety of uninteresting people, and faces plenty of dangers. Whatever.

Yep, that's the face you'll have as the final credits roll

Yep, that’s the face you’ll have as the credits roll

I’ve already mentioned how terribly unfunny the film is. You can only handle so much of Depp’s measly voice and bizarre gap-toothed smile. Humor focused on vomit, dry heaving, and body parts gets old quick. It also doesn’t help that the entire stolen painting mystery is sleep-inducing. It’s dull, lifeless, and smothered out by all of the vain attempts at humor. The movie tries to liven things up by injecting a few comedy-laced action sequences, but they are just as uninspired and forgettable.

I feel as though “Mortdecai” revolves around a continuous inside joke that I was never let in on. Surely a comedy can’t be this anemic, lame, and humorless. I sat stone-faced the entire time watching a talented and wasted cast flounder around with some of the worst material of the year. It could be said that this is a new low for Johnny Depp. The guy has talent. We have seen it in the past. But you see none of it in “Mortdecai”. Instead you get Depp at his most annoying and you have to wonder how much more of this nonsense can his career take?


1 star

24 thoughts on “REVIEW: “Mortdecai”

  1. In answer to your questions:
    – Yes…unfortunately.
    – That portrait Tom keeps hidden sure does.
    – Yeah, and I live with one of them…no comment.

    Its January release the best indicator, and in keeping with his choices of late, ordained this was going to be bad. He can still be saved, though. And “Black Mass” might be what does it. We’ll see.

    • Black Mass is grabbing a lot of attention. I was listening to two critics discuss it and both seem optimistic that this is Depp back in good form. Let’s hope!

  2. Great review Keith. Up to this point I thought this movie was about some strange Vampire – no idea why but that seemed most likely. Depp used to be amazing and it is terrible that he has stooped to the dry heaving movie level.

  3. I’d heard/read a few reviews when this came out earlier in the year, and it looks terrible. Fun to read your review but I’d also like to see some better Depp movies. I haven’t actually watched The Lone Ranger and that seems to have polarized opinion.

    • I swear, these Depp comedies actually give me a glimpse of hope with their trailers but they are always a letdown. This may be the worse of the lot.

      The Lone Ranger was a long mess. It’s only saving grace was its ridiculously over the top but wildly entertaining finale. But you have to go through a ton of nonsense to get there.

  4. I tend to avoid everything with Depp’s name attached. I will see Black Mass because I also tent to see everything with Edgerton’s name attached. Let’s pray.

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