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El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

‘Mortdecai’ has no charm

Despite being handled by the same director who helped write films like “Panic Room” and “Jurassic Park” (David Koepp), “Mortdecai” falls flat on its mustache-cladded face.

“Mortdecai,” which is based off the book anthology “Don’t Point That Thing at Me,” follows the story of Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp), an eccentric art dealer, and his wife Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Mortdecai is contacted by Inspector Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) — a seemingly upstanding gentleman who takes every and any opportunity to flirt with Johanna, much to the chagrin of Lord Mortdecai — in hopes that Mortdecai will assist in tracking down a famous missing painting with the promise of a handsome reward that will solve the couple’s financial troubles.

“Mortdecai” opens up to a sea of colorful characters and environments that jump from continent to continent, immediately letting the audience know that this is a light-hearted tale (despite it’s ‘R’ rating) that is not to be taken seriously by any means.

After that, the audience — who is taken through a brief look at the life of Mortdecai — are introduced to a variety of characters just as zany and wacky as the lord in question. While Depp proves himself to be as versatile as ever with this role, it’s the supporting characters who steal the show. Paltrow manages to outcharm and outshine everyone’s favorite ex-pirate with her quick wit, grace and humor.

Another gem is Mortdecai’s sex-crazed manservant — Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany) — who is willing to do anything and everything to protect his master from harm. Taking a step back from his more serious roles (“The Da Vinci Code” and “The Young Victoria”), Bettany perfectly inserts himself into the role with little to no effort.

In fact, character interactions are arguably more interesting than the plot itself. Mortdecai and Martland serve as foils to one another (despite each of them having their own unique brand of devilishness), and together they create the more entertaining moments.

“Mortdecai,” while not completely giving the audience a fast-paced — exciting thrill ride into the world of underground art dealings — isn’t without some merit. Apart from the characters’ interesting personalities and quirks, the movie does well to keep the watcher entertained by jumping from location to location with places like England, Moscow and California, forcing those watching to pay attention to where Mortdecai and the others jump to.

Apart from that, “Mortdecai” does little — if anything at all — to keep the audience wondering what’s going to happen next because — to be quite frank — it’s rather predictable. It’s a cookie-cutter, by the book, adventure film that doesn’t stray far from its formulaic plot, preventing viewers from wanting to delve deeper.

“Mortdecai’s” humor — which is juvenile at best — warrants only the occasional forced chuckle (and in some cases side splitting laughter from the underage moviegoers who probably snuck in to see the film).

In addition to that, there’s a great number of traveling done in the movie, which — while it may seem refreshing at first being taken to new places — proves to be a bit of a let down. In most cases, the audience only sees bits and pieces of these locations for a short period of time with cheesy transition scenes that make people wish they’d stick to one city.

Overall, “Mortdecai” had a fair deal of potential to be something decent — or even great. However, potential means nothing if it cannot translate into actions.

Despite the impressive ensemble of A-list actors and actresses, from Johnny Depp to Olivia Munn (whose forgettable character was merely used for sex appeal and comedy), “Mortdecai” falls to pieces within the first 15 minutes.

It was a box-office flop, pulling in a measly $4 million domestically since it hit theaters with an appalling 12% approval rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Pair that with international revenue, and the film still doesn’t make a dent in its $60 million budget.

Writer-director David Koepp’s latest isn’t a plot-driven, thought-provoking, action-packed mystery, but if one is looking to see more of Depp, Paltrow and the rest of this all-star cast, then “Mortdecai” is the film to see.

“Mortdecai” is now playing in all theaters. It’s 107 minutes long and rated R for some language and sexual material.

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