Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.
Review by Louise Keller:
There are a few amusing touches, but overall, Mortdecai sinks to the depths, its potential battered by an overdose of ham and a mannered performance by Johnny Depp that just doesn't fire. His Mortdecai caricature is an unhappy mix of Mike Myers as Austin Powers, Peter Sellers and Terry Thomas, complete with front-teeth gap, while the film's big joke is his twirled and upturned moustache. How many jokes can a wimpy moustache carry? The film reeks of self-importance instead of the light-hearted fun it might have been, never allowing the joys of the intended lunacy to soar.
Based on the 1970s novel by Kyril Bonfiglioli, the plotline involving Depp's art-dealer conman, his brainy trophy wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), his manservant Jock Strap (Paul Bettany), toffy Mi5 agent Martland (Ewan McGregor), plus an assortment of others is convoluted, as they search for a missing Goya painting. It's a caper that gets stuck in Depp's clunky characterization, which is as self-conscious as his Jack Sparrow (from Pirates of the Caribbean) is inspired.
Some of the upstairs downstairs humour is quite droll as Mortdecai, Lord of a rather stately manor, does his best to avoid insolvency: selling artwork and his Rolls Royce are the starting point. There has arguably never been such irreverence shown to the King of Cars, with bodies tossed on the bonnet and roof, the convertible roof slashed and a funny chase scene with a puking Paul Bettany in the back seat. Bettany and Paltrow are especially good. Johanna has a physical aversion to Mortdecai's moustache and gags when he tries to kiss her (he has a sympathy gag complex); and Jock is the all-suffering, ever-loyal thug with an active libido, who patiently deflects Mortdecai's repeated question 'Will it be alright in the end'? Look out for Jeff Goldblum as the LA millionaire with the nymphomaniac daughter and there's a running gag involving a would-be tease of a romance between McGregor and Paltrow.
No doubt made with the best intentions, it's a real pity Mordecai isn't the wild, zany romp we would wish it to be. With such an abundance of talent on screen, we can only assume that director David Koepp was too close to the project and Depp was allowed to self-indulge.
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CAST: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn
PRODUCER: Christi Dembrowski, Johnny Depp, Andrew Lazar, Patrick McCOrmick, Gigi Pritzker
DIRECTOR: David Koepp
SCRIPT: Eric Aronson (Novel by Kyril Bonfiglioli)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Florian Hoffmeister
EDITOR: Derek Ambrosik Jill Savitt
MUSIC: Mark Ronson, Geoff Zanelli
PRODUCTION DESIGN: James Merifield
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 29, 2015