“I am Lord Charlie Mortdecai, respected by all who know me…slightly,” says Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) to a group of untrustworthy business associates as he tries unsuccessfully to do a trade in the comedy film Mortdecai.
Charlie Mortdecai is a British international art dealer and, at times, smuggler who finds himself and his lovely wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) in debt to the government for over 8 million pounds. Not wanting to sell his estate and all their belongings to get out from under, Charlie is struggling to find that perfect deal to save them from financial ruin. This is when Detective Martland (Ewan McGregor) approaches Mortdecai to assist in finding a stolen painting believed to contain a secret code which leads to a lost Nazi fortune in gold.
Dealing with deadly Russians, an international terrorist, British smugglers, and other unsavory characters, Mortdecai must depend on his wits and his loyal manservant, Jock (Paul Bettany), to beat everyone to the lost painting and save the world along with his beloved estate.
Essentially laughless, Mortdecai is an action crime comedy that falls flat. Struggling to be in the spirit of the Pink Panther films, Mortdecai doesn’t have the writing, plot, or action scenes to ever come close to the wit, charm, and hilarious humor of the Peter Sellers films of the 1960s and 70s.
Johnny Depp delivers what just might be his most forgettable performance to date as Mortdecai, the mustache enthused, art loving, debonair and clueless rogue who’s only able to stay one step ahead of the killers due to the assistance of his manservant Jock, portrayed extremely well by Paul Bettany. Truly the only mildly entertaining scenes in the film are with Bettany trying to protect and serve Depp’s Mortdecai.
Ewan McGregor is wasted as detective Martland whose intelligence and behavior become that of an adolescent teenager suffering from his first crush whenever Gwyneth Paltrow’s Johanna is in his presence. It’s a nothing role that’s far beneath McGregor’s talents.
Boring and misfiring on almost every level, Mortdecai is a dismal mess that should definitely be avoided in theaters.
Mortdecai was directed by David Koepp and is rated R for some language and sexual material.
Running time: 106 minutes
Release date: January 23, 2015
– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
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