Movie Review: “Mortdecai” – Typical Depp

Written by Caitlin Cooper February 25, 2015


Johnny Depp is known for taking on the role of the oddball. Playing a quirky and silly character seems to be what he does best (like Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films which is the highlight of the series). He’s done musicals, thrillers, and dark comedies. In “Mortdecai”, Depp is once again playing a weird character in a weird film that spends a lot of time focusing on mustaches, marriage, and art.

“Mortdecai” tells the story of art dealer Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) must uncover a stolen painting that is rumoured to have a code that leads to a Swiss bank account. He’s motivated to move quickly partly because some Russians are after him, but also because he hopes to patch things up with his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is angry that they’re having financial issues and who is disturbed by his new mustache. With the help of his man-servant and bodyguard Jock (Paul Bettany), Mortdecai uses his knowledge of the art world and weak fighting skills to clear his debt and save his marriage.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to put my foot down, Darling. With your permission, of course.”

While “Mortdecai” is in part an action film with car chases – though the car chases are used to make fun of typical action film sequences – and goons threatening to cut off fingers, writer Eric Aronson’s script is, at its core, mostly about the lengths the protagonist will go to to save his marriage. Mortdecai is an oddball, and he’s no longer making money by selling rare art. Due to this, his marriage is strained. Also, it doesn’t help that his wife is really grossed out by his new mustache. You’ll find that mustaches are a recurring joke in the film, partly since Mortdecai thinks it’ll make his wife extremely attracted to him, and also because he just loves mustaches. While the marriage in this film is at times so ridiculous, Aronson does focus on things that could happen in a real marriage (he just happens to exaggerate them a lot). Mortdecai is rather hopeless without his wife and his man-servant, so he surprises himself when he does the saving instead of getting saved. While the script has numerous funny moments, the actual plot of the stolen art is weak. It doesn’t seem like much has been achieved by the end of the film.


Depp is, as I said before, really adept at playing characters like Mortdecai. It seems like he has a knack for comedy and he seems to fully become the character on the screen. He’s so good at playing to the awkwardness and weirdness of Mortdecai that he rather brilliantly saves the movie from it’s sometimes bland writing. Paltrow’s British accent sounds a bit too forced, but other than that she plays an interesting character who helps her husband despite their rift. While Bettany’s character is a decidedly silly one, it’s easy to see the character worships Mortdecai even though the man is a walking disaster.

“Well, I think my work here is done.”

Overall, “Mortdecai” is an odd film, but it also has decent comedy. The film’s action plot, however, is less interesting than the plot-line about Mortdecai trying to save his marriage. Johnny Depp does a wonderful job playing a style of character he’s used to playing. While the film has it’s moments, it can be a bit too ridiculous at times. It was fun, but I don’t think I’d watch it again.

My Rating: 6.5/10


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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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