Johnny Depp delivers another of his strenuously eccentric comic turns in this farcical crime caper about a caddish, cash-strapped English aristocrat, yet even devoted fans who stuck with his Jack Sparrow shtick through thick and thin will find his supposedly madcap adventures in Mortdecai buttock-clenchingly bad.
Playing the louche art dealer created by author Kyril Bonfiglioli in his cult Charlie Mortdecai novels, he appears to be channelling the raffish spirit of Terry-Thomas, but his posh, gap-toothed bounder has all the charm of rancid Stilton. And his character’s quest to stave off bankruptcy by tracking down a priceless Goya painting is hardly that engaging, either.
Accompanied by his doggedly loyal manservant Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany), a thuggish Cockney Jeeves to his bungling Bertie Wooster, he sets off for London, Moscow and Los Angeles to locate the missing artwork, but the pair’s slapstick escapades have the tired desperation of a second-rate, mid-70s Pink Panther film.
Playing Mortdecai’s implausibly fragrant wife Johanna, Gwyneth Paltrow emerges from this shambles relatively unscathed, but whenever she involuntarily gags at the sight of her husband’s hideous new moustache – one of the film’s unfunny running jokes – the viewer will know exactly how she feels.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 107 mins. Director David Koepp.
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