Mortdecai

"Bad"

Mortdecai Review


Despite a superior cast and terrific-looking production values, this mystery romp is a misfire on every level. The only vaguely entertaining moments come in some snappy wordplay that's presumably all that remains of Kyril Bonfiglioli's beloved novel Don't Point That Thing at Me. Otherwise, the film feels clumsy and outdated, and even Johnny Depp's quirky schtick seems halfhearted. So even though it looks great and elicits a few giggles, it's such a mess that it's hard to imagine why anyone got involved.

Depp plays Lord Charlie Mortdecai, an art expert whose immaculately kept manor house is at risk of foreclosure due to unpaid taxes. So he leaps at the finder's fee when his old pal MI5 Inspector Martland (Ewan McGregor) asks him to investigate a murder linked to a missing Goya painting. The problem is that Martland still holds a torch for Charlie's wife Joanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), a brainy bombshell who launches her own investigation into the case. With his trusty manservant Jock (Paul Bettany) by his side, Charlie is taken to Moscow and Los Angeles in search of the Goya. And it all boils over in a chaotic encounter with a smirking art collector (Jeff Goldblum), his man-crazy daughter (Olivia Munn) and a sneaky killer (Jonny Pasvolsky).

Despite quite a lot of adult-aimed innuendo and violence, director David Koepp (Premium Rush) shoots the movie as if it's a hyperactive kiddie flick, all bright colours and shameless over-acting, with whooshing digitally animated transitions and a series of awkwardly staged car chases. None of this is remotely amusing. Even the constant double entendres are painfully overplayed, while the cartoonish Received Pronunciation accents put on by Depp, Paltrow and McGregor are more distracting than humorous. All of this leaves the characters impossible to engage with on any level; they aren't funny, endearing or even interesting.

Depp may have his moments as the ridiculous Mortdecai, mainly in brief glimpses of his pathetic self-awareness, and Paltrow at least is sharp and sexy (making the most of an overused running gag about Charlie's ridiculous moustache). Bettany's casting as a libidinous thug is a bold move that doesn't quite pay off: he's funny but never remotely convincing. But then nothing in the film is convincing, even within its own nutty logic. Still, these wacky characters might have been entertaining if Koepp had managed to strike a balance between the silliness and the mystery. But the plot and characters are thin and predictable, the set pieces unfurl without pay-offs, and the promised intrigue never materialises. So only a few flashes of playful wit suggest what this might have been.

Mortdecai Trailer



Mortdecai

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd January 2015

Distributed by: Liongate Films

Production compaines: OddLot Entertainment, Mad Chance, Huayi Brothers Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Christi Dembrowski, ,

Starring: as Charles Mortdecai, as Georgina Krampf, as Johanna, as Inspector Martland, Guy Burnet as Maurice, Jonny Pasvolsky as Emil Strago, Alec Utgoff as Dmitri, as Jock Strapp, Jamie Bernadette as Bikini Babe

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