Welp, I finally got to see Mordecai. To be honest, I had my doubts about checking it out after a whole ton if bad reviews it received after premiering a little while back. We all know that Johnny Depp has made some seriously questionable choices lately, so it’s not like I had no reason to be wary of this particular project of his.
Mortdecai is the story of Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp), an art dealer from England, whose college friend, Inspector Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor), asks him to help the police retrieve the stolen painting of Goya, what with Charlie being an expert in the area. After having an argument with his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) about growing a ‘Mortdecai family moustache’, Lord Mordecai sets on his journey to try and track down the art thieves. In the meantime, Martland has a mission of his own – being desperately in love with Johanna ever since their college years, he uses Charlie’s absence to try and woo her, which doesn’t work because she’s deeply in love with her husband. And once said husband is kidnapped by a Russian mob, she chooses to take the matters into her own hands and save him, as well as help solve the case.
The film was as crazy as it sounds. There were Russian thugs, Chinese mobsters, Nazi Gold, British accents, pseudo-British humour, a great deal of Mortdecai’s clumsiness that saved his life more than once, and basically everything you can possibly imagine. It was meant to be a parody, and it’s exactly what it was. In other words, it was so bad it was good.
I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. Sure, it was silly, and made entirely of clichés, and really bad humour, but it’s not like anyone ever expected it to be particularly deep. It had a distinctive Pink Panther vibe to it, so if you’re a fan of the infamous Steve Martin’s film, you’ll probably find Mordecai worth your time. I wouldn’t recommend it as a first choice, but if you’re late for your movie, or it’s been sold out, and all you can do is go home, you might as well giveMortdecai a try. Think of it as a very unfortunate step-sibling of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and lower your expectations.
Depp’s character, unfortunately, was not the kind of character an audience tends to root for, but Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany (who plays Mortdecai’s ‘muscle’ called Jock Strapp) did a surprisingly impressive job, allowing us to enjoy their performances. For what it’s worth, I did like the fact that, despite being somewhat badass in his own way, Charlie was totally whipped, letting his wife be in control at all times. If he were even remotely misogynistic, it would destroy the movie entirely. Sadly, Ewan McGregor somehow stayed in the background, barely having a memorable scene or two, which was simply not fair.
I doubt anyone will remember this film in a year or two, and I hope Johnny Depp will be considerate about his roles in the future, but for now I’m glad it didn’t turn out being as awful as I feared it would be.