By Mark Saldana
Rating: 1 (Out of 4 Stars)
I am grateful to have been one of the few Austin press members allowed to see this film early; however, my gratitude comes from not having to waste my money to do so. I have not read the novels which inspired this terrible movie, but if they are anything like the film adaptation, I have no interest in them whatsoever. Directed by Davie Koepp and written by Eric Aronson (based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel, Don’t Point That Thing At Me), Mortdecai is 106 minutes of mostly unfunny antics, dull characters and a story that nearly bored me to death.
Johnny Depp stars as Lord Charlie Mortdecai, a cosmopolitan and debonair art collector who unwittingly gets involved in international intrigue connected with a murder and the theft of a priceless painting. Framed for the robbery, Mortdecai grudgingly works with MI:5 officer Martland (Ewan McGregor) to recover the painting and clear his name. While doing so, he must also keep his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) happy, fight off the advances of nymphomaniac Georgina Krampf (Olivia Munn), and rely on his man-servant Jock (Paul Bettany) for protection from the real villains involved.
With such an exceptional cast which also includes Michael Culkin and Jeff Goldblum, it is shocking how bad this movie is. Seriously, I have no clue what these talented actors see in this painfully unfunny script. Take the worst jokes and gags of the worst Pink Panther movies and add the worst jokes and gags from the Austin Powers movies and that pretty much describes the humor of Mortdecai. At least in some of the bad Pink Panther movies, Peter Sellers could still win me over with his talent and comedic timing. As for the Austin Powers films, the main character had a certain likable charm. The character of Mortdecai is an annoying douchebag. I found nothing charming or funny about him. I will admit that the movie does have a couple of legitimately funny moments, but these came courtesy of other characters. The rest of the film stumbles and falls flat and hard like a ton of bricks and all the audience can do is sit slack-jawed, waiting for something funny to happen. Well, at least that was my reaction.
To be fair, I did hear some laughs from the audience and some of the attendees (non-press) did mention to me afterward that they enjoyed the movie, but I just don’t understand what exactly they find funny about a slightly snobby douche with a silver spoon in his mouth who believes he is charming and debonair, and is a cowardly foppish nimcompoop. Eric Ericson’s comedic writing shouldn’t even be labeled as such. I cannot ,in no way whatsoever, recommend this movie. If voraciously curious about the film, one should wait and see it on pay TV or rent it when available.