MOVIE REVIEW – Johnny Depp is a world-class goofball in “Mortdecai.”
By Zaida Diaz, Valley Life Editor
He’s a charming – if shady – art dealer, part time rogue, and mustache enthusiast. He is Charlie Mortdecai, the subject of interest in this comic adventure, played by none other than Johnny Depp, who yet again demonstrates his knack for bringing eccentric characters to life.
Depp’s strange English accent and exaggerated sophistication, combined with his impulsive nature, make him enjoyable to watch.
“Mortdecai” is directed by David Koepp and based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel “Don’t Point That Thing at Me,” the title presumably referring to the protagonist’s powerful mustache. Bonfiglioli wrote a series featuring Mortdecai, so it’s possible that we see more of him on the big screen, given that all goes well at the box office, of course.
Lord Mortdecai is enlisted to help find a lost Goya that could lead to an even greater treasure by his adversary, Inspector Martland (Ewan McGregor). Martland just happens to go gaga for Mortdecai’s beautiful and intelligent wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), but is in need of Mortdecai’s unique set of skills in order to solve the mystery.
The timing could not have been more opportune since Mortdecai has found himself in major debt to the British government: “I had no idea I was so deep in Her Majesty’s hole.” Viewers can expect more where that came from; the film is filled with banter and raunchy double entendres.
Mortdecai, along with his indestructible manservant Jock Strapp, brilliantly played by Paul Bettany, take on the “clever servant” and “half-witted master” roles and nail them. Their relationship is much deeper than that, though; we can tell that these two really care for one another. That is, Strapp would have to, seeing as how he’s always getting Mortdecai out of stiff situations and placing his own life on the line.
Martland, Mortdecai, and Johanna’s love triangle is fun to watch. It’s especially entertaining to see these two men try and one-up each other, while Johanna seems to always be two steps ahead. As nutty as Mortdecai may seem, there’s great chemistry between Paltrow and Depp.
It’s apparent that the cast had a fun time making the film, however, its cinematography could have improved. Too many times, the cameras dashed from one scene to the next, sometimes taking away from moments that would have been more successful had they been aired out a little longer.
Even so, there’s plenty to look forward to when watching “Mortdecai.” This playful film will grab your attention with its many personalities and its cheeky humor.
3.5 stars (out of 5)
“Mortdecai” opens in theaters January 23
Rated R for some language and sexual material