Skip to main content

Movie Review | Mortdecai (2015)



Crazy, kooky and ferociously goofy, Johnny Depp’s latest is a send-up to the 70’s caper movies and the genre that parodied them. Striking a similar if distant cord to “The Pink Panther”, “Mortdecai” features a bungling lead character whose charm lies in being larger than life. The situations are over the top, the characters zany to the hilt and the laughs more frequent than anticipated.

A titled art dealer living beyond his means, Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) is recruited to track down a stolen painting for MI5. His money troubles at the forefront of his travails, he simultaneously juggles his disgruntled wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) and the Inspector in charge of the investigation who was Mortdecai’s college schoolmate and a romantic rival for Johanna’s affections.
The storyline feels a bit dated and for viewers who haven’t watched a steady diet of the aforementioned movies, the jokes can be too insular to achieve their desired effect. There are some running gags that flame out quickly (i.e. the mustache) and it misses several beats while attempting to stay swift in the pacing department. The key component it lacks is a foil for Mortdecai. As central as Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau was to “The Pink Panther” series, Herbert Lom’s Chief Inspector Dreyfus was an equally integral and unsung part in making them the lightning in the bottle film experience they were. “Mortdecai” would’ve greatly benefited from featuring a similar dynamic. Without an adversary for Mortdecai to perpetually go up against, there’s no friction to propel the movie forward.

The crucial element in the movie's arsenal is Depp, whose vivid expressions and swing for the fences vivacity are palatably infectious. He plays the movie for laughs with an abandon that is so assured, it possesses an undeniable finesse. It’s a preposterously silly character that requires Depp’s signature gift for bringing eccentric, off the wall characterizations to life. Far from the greatest script of his career, he makes the most of it nonetheless. Paul Bettany provides a lot of the film's laughs as Mortdecai's manservant and yes man, Jock; adding a satisfying crackle opposite Depp.
For those who enjoyed the trailer, liking the movie will be an easy leap as it never ventures off the advertised course. As a genre movie it’s not bold enough to be categorized as a full blown spoof. The strange way in which it strives for satire makes it hard to discern whether it’s actually trying to be one at times. Given so many of the characters and set design are retro based, it is all the more odd they chose to set in the present day. It exists in this strange dimension that mingles the past with the present, the same way the 2005 remake of “Bewitched” did. It struggles to find a distinctive direction and in its query to do so gets lost in route to being something more comically productive.

There’s no mistaking that “Mortdecai” is meant to be absurd. It doesn’t take itself seriously, allowing viewers to take an hour off from heavy thinking. It's mainly an opportunity to watch Depp do his thing and for those who delight at his louder creations, this won't be lost on them. Rating: 6/10



Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…