Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor
Director: David Koepp
Running Time: 107 mins
Mortdecai is an American film about legendary mustachioed art dealer Charlie Mortdecai, and his efforts to recover a stolen painting while caught in the crosshairs of an MI5 investiagion, international enemies and a dysfunctional marriage.
Right, I know this film was panned to oblivion by the critics when it came out, and I know that it’s far from Hollywood’s most original, intelligent comedy of the decade. However, there’s something weirdly charming about just how moronic Mortdecai is, and while it doesn’t particularly thrill when it comes to its ridiculously convoluted story, I found myself chuckling a good few times through this unashamedly idiotic film.
First things first, let’s talk about the performances. Arguably the film’s most ‘memorable’ aspect, Mortdecai features an A-list cast including Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum and more. And, while there’s no shortage of on-screen talent in that list, all of the leads find themselves in some of the most moronic roles they’ve ever come across.
While Johnny Depp is no stranger to exaggerated performances on the big screen, bringing the slightly more mellow likes of Paltrow and McGregor into the mix seems a little off from the start, almost as if they’re too level-headed to be seen anywhere near this movie.
And yet, there’s a charming quirk of seeing these A-list stars perform in what could easily be described as a movie with a child’s mind, featuring juvenile humour, one-dimensional and ridiculous characterisation, and a preposterously high-stakes caper plot.
All of that makes Mortdecai an understandably poor film, but it’s all delivered with such weird gusto and childish spirit that I found it difficult to dislike. It’s not loud, shrill or particularly annoying, and although it’s far from the most intelligent film you’ll ever see, Mortdecai is so energetic right the way through that it will surely get a grin on your face from time to time.
When it comes to the humour, I’m still not 100% sure whether I was laughing at the jokes themselves, or just how stupid they were, but either way, this film made me laugh quite a lot. Almost fitting into the category of so-bad-it’s-good, Mortdecai is hardly a masterpiece of wit, but it is at least filled to the brim with stupid gags, the likes of which let you turn your brain all the way off and still enjoy to the full.
And finally, the film’s story is equally moronic, with preposterously high stakes and a series of insanely convoluted twists-upon-twists-upon twists that turn the whole affair into a highly strung mess.
Once again, though, that childish energy and fervour is present right the way through, and although those high stakes are nowhere near as funny as the film seems to think at times, they do at least provide an excuse for some of the movie’s most ridiculous comedic set-pieces, with a number of pointless twists being used as nothing more than vehicles to shoehorn the characters into a series of idiotic situations.
The plot does drag on quite a bit in the end – it could all be wrapped up in a few moments such is its simplicity – but given the film’s bright and undying energy throughout, it still doesn’t grate on you quite as much as you may expect.
Overall, Mortdecai isn’t a good film, but it is a very fun one. Lacking any sort of intelligence wherever you look, it’s the definition of moronic comedy, yet it delivers its most stupid assets with immense energy and charm, somehow turning an utter mess of a film into something weirdly enjoyable all the way through, so that’s why I’m giving it a 6.8.