Believe it or not, there was a time Johnny Depp was known as a brilliant actor accepting roles for the challenge rather than how silly a mustache could be. After so much success with quirky parts, including the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp is on a longer and more painful losing streak than the Lakers.
Joined by Gweneth Paltrow, as wife Johanna, the sexiest person alive and Paltrow embark on a zany, slapstick comedic farce. In the spirit of Peter Sellers’ bumbling French Inspector Clousseau, this dapper British gentleman Mortdecai, and his man-servant, Jock (Paul Bettany), are determined to locate a stolen, priceless Goya painting.
Sure, the story features British aristocracy, but it will never be mistaken for “Downton Abbey.” The lavish sets, costumes and silly, over-the-top humor are to be commended, but the dry dialog is only mildly amusing, at best, and mostly juvenile, throughout. The movie can be somewhat entertaining, but when the best compliment one can muster is it isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, that’s not much of an endorsement.
Ewan “Obi-Wan” McGregor co-stars as Inspector Martland, desperately in need of the silver tongue scalawag Mortdecai to assist in the search. Meanwhile, Martland is desperate enough to chase Mortdecai’s wife, Johanna. In fairness, Paltrow was not the producer’s first choice, which begs the question, “Just how many turned down the role?”
The characters are likably bizarre, the geographic graphics clever and the outlandish concept is just peculiar enough to be fun. Unfortunately, the severe shortcomings of the inane script by Eric Aronson yields an overly complex plot, jokes range from simplistic to stale and the most prominent gags actually include repeated gagging by its stars.
“Mortdecai” is 165 minutes and rated R for language, including sexual references, drug and alcohol use. Also joining the cast in supporting roles are Jeff Goldblum and Olivia Munn. As for Depp’s terrible box office slump and incurable infatuation with facial hair, we just ask him to keep a stiff upper lip. Pip pip, cheerio!