Mortdecai (2015) Review

director: David Koepp

writer: Eric Aronson

starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Paul Bettany

genre: Comedy | Crime

released: January 22, 2015 (Germany), January 23, 2015 (U.S.)

based on the novel: "Don't Point That Thing At Me" by Kyril Bonfiglioli, January 29, 2015 (Germany & Greece)

This film is so effortlessly bad it is suffice to say that laziness must be the culprit of its failure. Despite it having objectively a talented cast and crew. It wasn't near enough to turn it into any kind of a success. As audiences aren't as gullible as they are always expected to be. Their tastes do evolve and change with time and to them the true stars of cinema today are the likes of the Rock, Kevin Hart and Chris Pratt. With Johnny "cash me the check" Depp being a faint after thought and it was about time.


The experienced, eccentric and peculiar art dealer Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is broke and needs to find a way to survive for himself, his beautiful and sophisticated wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) and for his man servant Jock (Paul Bettany).

When an opportunity presents itself with the previously thought lost Goya painting is found and subsequently stolen by an unknown ring of art lovers and dealers. Mortdecai one of the best in the business is put on the case by the British government to stop the art bandits and if so to make a profit in the process.


Its amusing how this film must have came about. Somebody must have said that the line of books written by Kyril Bonfiglioli would be another good series to make money from. So somebody then commissioned someone else to write the script and because it was about a an amusing and eccentric kind of character who could be played by a Johnny Depp type actor. They thought why not have Johnny Depp play him and then rest the whole production on his shoulders. From his comedic inspirations to the films marketing. Without having a decent script in their hands or comedic actors around him to play off or improvise with. Which is the kind of insane mentality that results in these appalling films that exist only to be looked at with destain and pure boredom for their creation and recreational value.

The character of Mortdecai in his purest form is a weird and humble character of another era. Similar to Austin Powers in a way. However, where that film series decided to go with parody and have a talented comedic director and actor who can write and improvise be a part of the process. The exact opposite was decided with this dog and pony show. With the hiring of a writer who had written only one other film. Which was a failed NSYNC romantic comedy called "On the Line" (2001) and a director who's known for his thrillers and action plotting. Not his quirky sensibilities and sense of humor.

Yet nevertheless, the production went forward with this film and because of these mistakes made even more in the process. As most of the script is without character, humor and sound plot progression. Therefore a horrendous narration track was added onto the film and in fashion with the spoon feeding nature of mass audience filmmaking. An animation sequence was also added to accompany each trip Mortdecai made from one big city to another. With big letters such as "London" and "Moscow" popping up to inform us of it. Because adults can't comprehend dialogue to understand what will happen next and need bright and big letters and for the things to be spelled out as if we were watching "Dora the Explorer"..


Believing that a badly written script can turn into a profitable hit, without any experienced comedians included in its cast and relying alone off the coattails of Johnny Depp's weird character antics is a notion absurd and deplorable. This kind of film screams amateur hour and demands the immediate change from the way business is conducted in the current studio system. Because if they can't care a damn about the quality of the work they produce, they should better take a peak at the bottom line. As they are losing a great amount of money over silly and puny mistakes that can easily be averted.

Personal Rating:

review by Paul Katsaros

have an opinion, beg to differ, leave a comment