“I am loved by all who know me.”
The production company Lionsgate recently announced, on behalf of star Johnny Depp, to franchise Mortdecai and its lead character, opening up possibilities for future adventures with the posh and offbeat Charlie Mortdecai. Something in my gut tells me that won’t happen. Maybe it’s because this action/comedy isn’t funny or exciting. Mostly though, the box-office numbers will be the nail in the coffin. With a reported $60 Million budget, Mortdecai thus far has failed to return even a third of that investment, including foreign and domestic grosses. That, folks, is the definition of a box-office bomb.
Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) is a racketeering art dealer with a taste for the finer things in life, leading himself into insurmountable debt and financial problems. He and his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) live in a century’s old mansion in London. Also on the estate is Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany). Yes, that’s really his name. Jock is Mortdecai’s muscle and manservant, getting his weasley and troublesome proprietor out of harm’s way numerous times. After a woman working on a famous Goya painting is murdered, Inspector Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) takes on the case. He comes to Mortdecai for help because of his expertise in the arts, but mostly to see Johanna, the woman he longed for in their University days. From there, the plot only becomes more confusing and pointless.
Many people gave Johnny Depp flack for his performance in Transcendence (myself included). It was so undemonstrative and entirely dull that it felt as if we were watching an entirely different actor. Here, Depp is the opposite, and save for his hauntingly quiet performance in Edward Scissorhands, he sticks to the kind of character he does best. Depp’s full talent comes through when he gets to go all out, when there are no emotional hindrances or plot points to inhibit his flair for the flamboyant. And even though Charlie Mortdecai can be an unlikable protagonist, Depp still does a solid job with his mustached buffoon. It’s just too bad he is the only one who seemed to care about the film at all.
Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum, and established TV actor Jonny Pasvolsky all play disposable parts which don’t matter, because the story itself is uninteresting and uncreative. Mortdecai shoots for a Pink Panther vibe that clearly misses the mark. And it never comes close to M. Hulot’s Holiday, the 1953 French classic which Mortdecai undeniably resembles but miserably fails to match in hilarity. Mortdecai is a triflingly forgettable, one-dimensional movie lacking the outlandish sight gags, as well as the politically and socially driven humor these film’s typically thrive off of. I mean come on, how good can a movie with a character named after a men’s athletic undergarment be?
“We may be flat broke but we are not desperate.”
Rating: 0.5 out of 5