Johnny Depp can act, but you’ll find no proof of it in this disaster. Three young people in front of me walked out of the theater halfway through this mess, and you’ll be tempted.
Let me start by saying that I remain a Johnny Depp fan, and the criticism he received for The Lone Ranger (2013) was completely undeserved. As foolish as it was at times, it painted a daring picture of how the West was won at the expense of both Native Americans and the large buffalo herds.
Furthermore, he played a small but fun role as the savage wolf in this year’s Into the Woods, and he was splendid as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010). His memorable role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films will stand the test of time.
However, he also starred opposite Angelina Jolie in the pathetic The Tourist (2010), not to mention his tragic decision to star as a Canadian police officer in last year’s Tusk, maybe the worst movie release in this century. Unfortunately, Mortdecai dances in their same league, as his attempt to imitate Peter Sellers fails at every turn.
Though the film is supposed to be a comedy, you have to fight hard to find any moments that actually cause you to laugh. Everything is repeated ad nauseam as Depp focuses on his idiotic mustache. Embodying an egotistical dilettante, he fawns over his mustache, which results in him becoming far more hateful than likeable.
To make matters worse, his wife is played in a lamentable role by Gwyneth Paltrow. To be honest, I’m beginning to doubt that she has any meaningful talent at any level. Despite Robert Downey, Jr.’s acting talents, she almost ruins the Iron Man series as a wife who you secretly hope does the decent thing and just dies.
In Mortdecai, the plot loosely circles around a stolen painting that is hunted by Depp to return to solvency, a Serbian terrorist who hopes to finance his cause and wealthy art dealers interested in one thing, wealth. On top of that, British Intelligence, led by Ewan McGregor in the only borderline acceptable performance in the film, also seeks to recover the painting in the name of justice and fair play. It would be foolish to attempt to describe anything that happens in Mortdecai’s would-be adventure, as the only anxiety produced in the audience is the fear of having your collective IQ drop by the end of the film.
I should note that Paul Bettany plays Jock, Mortdecai’s faithful bodyguard. He stoically stands by Mortdecai’s side despite the fact that he is continually shot by his master, but he appears to view it as part of his job description.
If you are doubting my review, let me end by daring to lay out this golden moment. Paltrow can’t kiss her husband because the mustache causes her to gag, and Mortdecai gags when he sees someone else gag. You are likely to find yourself doing the same thing in the theater.