There was a point in time when Detroit-born Madonna moved to England then inexplicably started to sound English. Her newly discovered accent was bizarre and phony.
That being said, Madonna’s new dialect is more convincing that any found in “Mortdecai”. Johnny Depp’s brutally annoying portrayal of Charlie Mortdecai is so bad, so ridiculous, and so preposterous that it makes the two prior box office bombs of “The Lone Ranger” and “Transcendence” seem like Brando in “On The Waterfront”.
“Mortdecai” is the worst movie of 2015. We haven’t even turned the calendar on 2015 yet, but no matter what is released into theaters, this will set the bar on cinematic garbage. It truly is that bad.
Depp’s Charile Mortdecai is an art dealer, specializing in art of the stolen variety. He’s married to Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), who spends most of her time mocking Charlie’s ineptitude at, well, everything. She despises his new mustache, which the movie attempts to turn into a running gag that involves Johanna actually gagging when she kisses Charlie.
Sadly, there will be actual gagging for any poor souls that elect to fork over cash to see this disaster.
A painting is stolen and since the British government is aware of Charlie’s shady business, they elect to ask him to locate the art. Security Service agent Martland (Ewen McGregor) attended university with Charlie and Johanna and because of his life long crush on Johanna, he ignores Charlie’s illegalities.
Charlie is utterly useless, leaving one to wonder why Johanna would choose to be with him instead of Martland. But this devastatingly bad script by Eric Aronson and massively flawed direction of David Koepp manages to strip any and all charm from McGregor, almost leaving you feeling sorry for Johanna. She’s surrounded by fools and bores, left to roll her eyes and sling unfunny snark at her suitors.
The uninteresting caper takes Charlie and his manservant and the movie’s only consistently funny character, Jock (Paul Bettany), all over the world with huge font showing up on screen over cityscapes. Once these buffoons get to Los Angeles, Jeff Goldblum’s Krampf shows up, says a few slightly amusing things that are classically Goldblum-y, but he’s quickly out of the picture.
When a picture is this disastrous, that’s what happens. An interesting character finally shows up then poof, he’s gone.
Koepp has done something that only George Lucas before him has done. Koepp has made Ewen McGregor lifeless, boring, and devoid of charm. This is an actor that radiates cool and you can sense the boredom he’s feeling.
Sure, actors need a nice payday every now and then, but one can only hope this abject failure makes McGregor reconsider taking a big check just for big check’s sake.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s snark needs work. There are plenty of one liners that could have been almost funny if not for her dead on arrival delivery. For a once highly respected actress, this is an embarrassment. Her English accent, something she was known to knock out of the park, is wretched and a complete distraction.
Johnny Depp has hit rock bottom. He’s become an annoyance, striving for quirkiness, all due to the box office bonanza he reached while playing a pirate version of Raoul Duke from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. As a producer of “Mortdecai”, the entire production is nothing more than a money grabbing, vanity exercise in hopes that his presence alone means receipts.
The Three Stooges mugged for the camera less than Depp. His narration alone mauls the movie, as a better idea would have been for him to simply look at the camera and speak to the audience. At the very least, it would have shown some ingenuity in breaking down the fourth wall.
Instead, Depp channels his inner Peter Sellers and goes Full Clouseau for the entirety of the movie. The slapstick doesn’t work and his attempts at quick wit are just that: attempts.
While there are several people to point fingers at to blame for “Mortdecai”, none stand out more than Johnny Depp. This once great actor has become more caricature than character. Sadly, all he has to do is put on that ridiculous pirate hat, churn out another hit, and movie goers will be subjected to irritainment like “Mortdecai”.
Come back, Johnny. We miss you.