Wednesday, January 28, 2015

[Review] Mortdecai

Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is a swindling art dealer, a renaissance man (sort of), and a freewheeling fool. He flaunts a ravishingly curled mustache, which his clever wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) absolutely despises. He also has a badass, bend-over-backwards "manservant" who essentially keeps him alive.

There's a plot here that revolves around a stolen painting, but the filmmakers don't seem too concerned about creating an intriguing nor entertaining mystery. This thread of the film is quite unremarkable, but it's all the other antics that make this January comedy a surprisingly enjoyable, and better-than-expected excursion.

Mortdecai is actually best when viewed as an extended sitcom/farcical adventure episode. The tone is completely eccentric, similar to last year's Jude Law-starring Dom Hemingway. Early on, there are some delightfully awkward scenes between Mortdecai and the police inspector (a fitting role for Ewan McGregor). The oddball dialogue blends the posh with the toilet humor, which almost makes the film the equivalent of a feature-length Poo-Pourri ad. The script is filled with running jokes about Mortdecai's mustache, the number of times he's accidentally shot his manservant, and his sympathetic gag reflex (a meta-gag, if you will).

The character of Mortdecai comes off as more of an obnoxious scumbag in the trailer, but he's notably likable and vulnerable in the film. Depp embodies him with an endearing goofiness. He certainly carries the film--in fact, the scenes where he isn't present are nearly unbearable. This comes during a long string of post-Jack Sparrow roles that mix smoothness with quirkiness. It's an obvious Depp role, but it's to the point where it's almost too comfortable. He definitely does it well, but I'm looking forward to seeing him switch things up a bit in this year's upcoming Black Mass (where he'll play Whitey Bulger next to co-star Benedict Cumberbatch under the direction of Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace helmer).

By no means is Mortdecai an esteemed piece of cinema, but it definitely has a pungent style.


No comments:

Post a Comment