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Review: Mortdecai

Mortdecai
01.23.2015
3 10

PLOT: Charlie Mortdecai is a haughty - but terribly broke - British art dealer who frequently toils in the "underbelly" of the art world. When a legendary painting is stolen, the government enlists his services to help recover it, sending him on a globe-trotting adventure.

REVIEW:Just a sampling of the things MORTDECAI finds funny: mustaches; gag reflexes; vomit; the word "balls"; driving in reverse when you mean to drive forward; mustaches; boobs; British people; Russian people; involuntary bodily harm; mustaches; growling dogs; and Johnny Depp as Mordecai. That last one is most detrimental of all, but we'll get to him in a bit. These other things can, of course, be funny in the right context. It's just that MORTDECAI thinks they're inherently funny, that no effort needs to be put in beyond their very mentioning: Have a guy say "balls" a bunch of times because he's obsessed with balls, apparently, and the audience will roar in approval. Show people throwing up at a party because who doesn't find unstoppable puke hilarious? Let Mortdecai see Los Angeles for the first time and wonder - not once but twice - if he's unwittingly stepped into a porno... because he's from London, you see.

MORTDECAI is tone deaf in just about every way, and its insistence on its own charm and likability is almost sad to behold. Much of this stems from the central character, Charlie Mortdecai, who is more or less the whole show here. As played by Johnny Depp, Mortdecai is a late-60s British twit living in a modern world; the movie never goes right out and declares it, but the film is almost AUSTIN POWERS-esque in how out of tune Charlie is with the rest of society. (He calls the U.S. "the colonies"?) He's a foppish dandy with a penchant for drinking and making delicately crude overtures toward his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and ordering around his thuggishly loyal manservant Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany). He's supposed to be an expert in art, but the movie rarely depicts him having appreciation in anything except his mustache, sex with his wife, and humiliating anyone who isn't named Mortdecai.

The mustache. God, the mustache. Never, ever, has there been a movie so obsessed with one character's facial hair. Right off the bat, director David Koepp and screenwriter Eric Aronson introduce an endless subplot about Mortdecai's new "sproutling" on his upper lip. His wife hates it and gags whenever they kiss (which causes Mortdecai to gag in response; repeat this joke x10), but he's so infatuated with it that he's willing to risk driving her into the arms of their high school chum Martland (Ewan McGregor), who now hounds Charlie's every move as a member of the government. Everyone who meets Charlie comments on the mustache, every scene includes him twirling the mustache, every script page must have included at least one clever synonym for mustache. I've written "mustache" almost a dozen times already and that doesn't come close to how many mentions it gets in MORTDECAI. Please, make it stop.

The movie (which has been inspired by a series of Kyril Bonfiglioli comedic adventure novels from the 70s) isn't really about anything other than Mortdecai's own snotty inanity, but a plot involving a missing Goya painting and some nefarious art thieves is there to string Mortdecai and Jock from set piece to set piece where the same thing happens without fail: Mortdecai will get them into trouble because he's an incompetent fool, Jock will get them out of trouble (and become brutally wounded in the process), Mortdecai will spin off about 10 to 20 lame, antiquated witticisms, and they're off to the next thing. There are also plenty of feeble sex jokes that may have seemed oh-so-naughty decades ago, but here they're just cause for eye-rolls.

It's no secret that Johnny Depp is immersed in a soulless, ego-stroking funk right now. In MORTDECAI, he's essentially a cartoon character, constantly moaning, groaning, skipping, prancing, etc. He's not wanting for energy here, that's for sure - if anything, he's clearly a bit more inspired than he was in THE LONE RANGER or the last couple of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. The actor seems to genuinely enjoy his own schtick, which of course means he lays it on even thicker as the movie goes along, but it's a pretty joyless experience for an audience to watch someone else get off on their own zany antics if they're not going to deliver anything remotely funny.

Any good come of this self-congratulatory party? Well, it's pretty to look at; very well shot by Florian Hoffmeister with terrific production design by James Merifield. The soundtrack (by Mark Ronson and Geoff Zanelli) is appropriately groovy. The supporting cast acquits itself well enough (Paul Bettany in particular), although they're basically present to - like us - watch Depp do his thing. But these minor attributes certainly can't save a movie, or a star, enamored with its own supposed wicked genius.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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6:05AM on 01/26/2015
I honestly thought this was a lot of fun. It knows what it is and that's okay. It's a lowbrow movie traipsing about in a highbrow movie's clothes and it's not like we get a lot of comedies like this in theatres. Would take something like this over a Wedding Ringer any day.
I honestly thought this was a lot of fun. It knows what it is and that's okay. It's a lowbrow movie traipsing about in a highbrow movie's clothes and it's not like we get a lot of comedies like this in theatres. Would take something like this over a Wedding Ringer any day.
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6:04PM on 01/25/2015
You had me at mustache.
You had me at mustache.
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1:43PM on 01/24/2015

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5:43AM on 01/24/2015
David Koepp is one of hollywood most successful screenwriters with credits such as Jurassic Park,Lost World,War of the worlds,Spider-man,Panic Room but his directing career is crap,Ghost Town ,Premium Rush,Secret Window,which are all based on his scripts.I think the screenplays he "wrote" had ghost writers on them and the ones he directed are his own untouched [link] screenwriter who can`t choose a good script too direct? How odd.
David Koepp is one of hollywood most successful screenwriters with credits such as Jurassic Park,Lost World,War of the worlds,Spider-man,Panic Room but his directing career is crap,Ghost Town ,Premium Rush,Secret Window,which are all based on his scripts.I think the screenplays he "wrote" had ghost writers on them and the ones he directed are his own untouched [link] screenwriter who can`t choose a good script too direct? How odd.
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1:30AM on 01/24/2015
I have not the slightest interest in seeing this movie. And yes, Depp needs to play normal people!
I have not the slightest interest in seeing this movie. And yes, Depp needs to play normal people!
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9:28PM on 01/23/2015
I'm seeing some comments about how Depp should simply stop picking bad scripts or characters that are too goofy. From 2003 to 2010 Depp was box office steroids. If a movie would have otherwise made $20 million, Depp's presence brought in $50 million, etc. The Tourist was his first big misstep in nearly a decade. He was offered $20M+ and/or gross points for all his roles after the Black Pearl. Why wouldn't he continue the goofy schtick that was raking in $20-60M per film for him? Also, generally
I'm seeing some comments about how Depp should simply stop picking bad scripts or characters that are too goofy. From 2003 to 2010 Depp was box office steroids. If a movie would have otherwise made $20 million, Depp's presence brought in $50 million, etc. The Tourist was his first big misstep in nearly a decade. He was offered $20M+ and/or gross points for all his roles after the Black Pearl. Why wouldn't he continue the goofy schtick that was raking in $20-60M per film for him? Also, generally speaking, actors like Depp sign onto roles months or years in advance, for scheduling, whether we hear about it or not. How could Depp and his team KNOW these films wouldn't work as well? How does someone KNOW when an era is over? Usually they know after the same schtick they'd done for many years with consistent favorable results no longer yield the desired results. But that takes more than one anomalous flop (like The Tourist, where he played a normal person) during the same year you score one of the biggest hits of your already illustrious career (Alice in Wonderland). I think he shot Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows and Transcendence close enough together he could not have predicted their failures. Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows aren't even failures, really. They underperformed, but still made tons and tons of money. They could be considered minor to modest hits if not for the cost of producing and marketing them. This is why so many powerful actors nowadays take little to no upfront salary in favor of PROFIT points, like George Clooney tends to, like the main cast of American Hustle did, etc. Depp's period of flops has been relatively short lived and he could come roaring back with an Oscar nomination if the buzz on the Whitey Bulger biopic is any indicator.
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+2
7:58PM on 01/23/2015

Depp needs a reality check

It seems Depp has got to the point in his career where too many yes men surround him. He needs someone with balls to say hey Johnny this script stinks, hey Johnny you've now done 3 to 4 stinker films in a row time to get your A game on buddy.
It's sad watching such a great talent fade right before our eyes.
It seems Depp has got to the point in his career where too many yes men surround him. He needs someone with balls to say hey Johnny this script stinks, hey Johnny you've now done 3 to 4 stinker films in a row time to get your A game on buddy.
It's sad watching such a great talent fade right before our eyes.
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5:50PM on 01/23/2015
Depp needs to drop all the actory artifice and, for once, play an actual recognizable human being. He might be taken more seriously then. Is he still talented enough to do that?
Depp needs to drop all the actory artifice and, for once, play an actual recognizable human being. He might be taken more seriously then. Is he still talented enough to do that?
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2:26PM on 01/23/2015
I was really hoping this would be good, the trailer was weird. It was like this looks bad but in a good way. As it turns out it's just simply bad, as most people were expecting. I'll still probably see it on redbox or netflix.

although i read a review that is probably my favorite review ever "Johnny Depp is in danger of being upstaged by his own mustache"
I was really hoping this would be good, the trailer was weird. It was like this looks bad but in a good way. As it turns out it's just simply bad, as most people were expecting. I'll still probably see it on redbox or netflix.

although i read a review that is probably my favorite review ever "Johnny Depp is in danger of being upstaged by his own mustache"
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1:52PM on 01/23/2015

I want to see and like this

Not for Johnny Depp, but for Terry Thomas, a British character actor from about 50-60 years ago that Depp is 1000% ripping off for Mortdecai.
Not for Johnny Depp, but for Terry Thomas, a British character actor from about 50-60 years ago that Depp is 1000% ripping off for Mortdecai.
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1:24PM on 01/23/2015
He has a pretty hit and miss career, surprised people are surprised by another stinker
He has a pretty hit and miss career, surprised people are surprised by another stinker
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12:13PM on 01/23/2015

Jock Strapp?

ha ha ha ha ha that's FUNNY
ha ha ha ha ha that's FUNNY
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-2
11:54AM on 01/23/2015
Has Depp been invited to Movie Jail? Without his Pirates-franchise he would surely burn next to Nic Cage and John Cusack in DTV hell.
Has Depp been invited to Movie Jail? Without his Pirates-franchise he would surely burn next to Nic Cage and John Cusack in DTV hell.
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1:36PM on 01/23/2015
Depp was declared Not Guilty (and so did Cage and Cage). However, that was before this movie and TRANSCENDENCE. Maybe he'll be declared Guilty in a future Movie Jail update.
Depp was declared Not Guilty (and so did Cage and Cage). However, that was before this movie and TRANSCENDENCE. Maybe he'll be declared Guilty in a future Movie Jail update.
11:36AM on 01/23/2015

Btw, Depp is seriously turning into Mickey Rourke...

Anyone see him on Kimmel? The dude can't speak anymore, he looks like Rourke did before his career crashed and he just sounds horrible.

Anyone see him on Kimmel? The dude can't speak anymore, he looks like Rourke did before his career crashed and he just sounds horrible.

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11:35AM on 01/23/2015

Obviously this was shit and Depps worst movie ever

The trailers just screamed mediocre. Depp made this movie for the $$ plain and simple. He is horrible in it.

The movie is basically what happens if you mix Rupert Everett from Dunston Checks In with a script that was written by a 13 year old boy. It just sucked and misses every joke.
The trailers just screamed mediocre. Depp made this movie for the $$ plain and simple. He is horrible in it.

The movie is basically what happens if you mix Rupert Everett from Dunston Checks In with a script that was written by a 13 year old boy. It just sucked and misses every joke.
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11:28AM on 01/23/2015

I saw it and I liked it.

To me it was a 7/10. It was nothing deep or overly profound. It was entertainment at its most basic element. Depp was actually fantastic and the script which the reviewer mentioned was horrible. Will it go down as a comedy classic? No! Will you be entertained if you don't go in with any preconceived notion? Yes! Turn off your brain and sit back and enjoy it.
To me it was a 7/10. It was nothing deep or overly profound. It was entertainment at its most basic element. Depp was actually fantastic and the script which the reviewer mentioned was horrible. Will it go down as a comedy classic? No! Will you be entertained if you don't go in with any preconceived notion? Yes! Turn off your brain and sit back and enjoy it.
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5:44PM on 01/23/2015
If you have to turn off your brain is it really worth your time? What a sad suggestion.
If you have to turn off your brain is it really worth your time? What a sad suggestion.
7:21PM on 01/23/2015
Is it so bad to just walk into a movie theater on a Friday, pick a movie to go see, sit down and watch what's happening on the screen and not think much about what you're watching? I'm sorry that my opinion differs from yours.
Is it so bad to just walk into a movie theater on a Friday, pick a movie to go see, sit down and watch what's happening on the screen and not think much about what you're watching? I'm sorry that my opinion differs from yours.
11:08AM on 01/23/2015
Johnny Depp, so many flops in a row? What happened to you, man?
Johnny Depp, so many flops in a row? What happened to you, man?
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+6
11:02AM on 01/23/2015

Big surprise

This looked awful from the outset. Thanks for saving me 20 bucks.
This looked awful from the outset. Thanks for saving me 20 bucks.
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11:01AM on 01/23/2015
Shocking.....another Johnny Depp flop.
Shocking.....another Johnny Depp flop.
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