Director: David Koepp
I think we can all agree that The Love Guru is one of the worst movies of all time. In that film, Mike Myers played with a style of comedy that simply didn’t work, unlike some of his other equally stupid attempts that somehow hit most of Americans in just the right way. The Austin Powers series was a success because it seemed like everyone involved was having fun, similar to the why Will Ferrell or Seth Rogen movies work, because, yeah they’re kinda funny, but mostly it just seems like a good time had by a bunch of goofballs who would probably be cool to hang out with. I never thought I’d see the day when Johnny Depp would attempt such a slap-happy ensemble film like those I just mentioned, nor did I expect it to fail so miserably, competing with The Love Guru for the most pathetic attempt at humor in the past ten years.
Charlie Mortdecai; get used to the name because you’re going to hear it about a thousand times per scene in this comedic crime caper. Mortdecai is an underground art dealer, a rogue, a pampered aristocrat, a pompous Brit, a man of no backbone. He’s very proud of his estate, his wife, his manservant, his car, and his mustache, but times are tough right now at Mortdecai manor. He’s in debt, big debt, and is looking for a crafty deal that will get him above water. When a famous painting is stolen, Charlie sees an opportunity, especially since the painting might also be the key to a lost Nazi fortune. But a lot of people want to get their hands on that painting: MI5, the Russian mob, English art snobs, LA millionaires. So Mortdecai, along with his trusty bodyguard Jock, and secretly shadowed by his crafty wife Johanna, will go on a dangerous mission to save his own hide, something he’s always had a true knack for.
Rarely is a comedy as humorless as this one. I believe I laughed a total of two times during the film, and those mere chuckles. It was a script sucked dry of anything funny, stretched to the limits of good taste, and served very, very cold. It was like a terrible SNL skit that went horribly wrong on live television, flopping beyond all imagining. But that could at least be forgiven; sometimes you write a bad joke, it happens. But Mortdecai was one bad joke followed by another and another, a never ending supply of crap that these actors and filmmakers spent months & months practicing, writing, planning, shooting, never understanding that what they were producing just wasn’t funny. It was a juvenile and uninspired attempt at comedy, a mash of vomit jokes and erections that never even seemed adult, which would have at least been something. If you saw Sex Tape you’ll know how awful a movie can be, but that it can also be salvaged a little by vulgarity; Mortdecai didn’t even have that going for it.
If Johnny Depp was trying to channel his inner Mike Myers and create a character that would become a comedic icon and spawn a movie franchise, he can kiss that dream goodbye. Charlie Mortdecai is just plain stupid, not likeable or entertaining in the least bit. Based on a novel that I can only imagine is the worst book ever, the film is 100 minutes of the most annoying voice spouting off the most dreadful jokes, only occasionally (and accidentally) causing an actual giggle from the audience. And the cameos, oh the cameos. Sometimes a good surprise can win you some laughs, but every time a new actor popped up I cringed, feeling bad for them that they were ever part of this project. Olivia Munn was hot, as usual, but terrible in her tiny part. Jeff Goldblum should have turned down the part as soon as he read the script. And it was just painful seeing talented actors like Ewan McGregor & Paul Bettany put through some idiocy. The only bright part, surprisingly, was Gwyneth Paltrow, who I don’t normally like. She was partly likeable, classically beautiful, and had good chemistry in her scenes with Johnny Depp. Overall, this is a movie to avoid like the plague, a film Johnny Depp should be embarrassed about for the rest of his career.
My rating: ☆