Friday, January 30, 2015

Mortdecai Review

Comedy [Kom-i-dee], noun - professional entertainment consisting of jokes and satirical sketches, intended to make an audience laugh.

The genres listed atop the IMDB page for the new film Mortdecai: Action/Comedy

Something doesn't quite add up here.

Now, it would be easy to call me out right off the bat here and say that even if I didn't find the film funny, the definition of comedy involves the intention of making an audience laugh, not actually achieving it. I get that, but I still feel calling Mortdecai a comedy is misleading despite this. Why? Because I refuse to believe a human being could write this screenplay and truly believe it would elicit laughter. 

When I was 14 years old I wrote a short story titled "Don't Press Stop or John Stamos Will Shoot" and the premise involved actor John Stamos using his neighbors VCR (a machine that plays tapes, for those younger readers out there) and somehow being transported inside it, and thus he is forced to play a role in every single tape put in going forward while he searches for a means to escape. Why do I bring this up? Because I was a fat, weird 14 year old who was probably eating his own boogers while I walked home from school, and I can promise you what I wrote was far and away more successfully comedic than the film Mortdecai.

I'm not bragging or patting myself on the back, my writing was likely shit and I'm sure multiple attempts at humor in my story missed the mark. That's precisely my point, that even still, compared to this screenplay my story would have probably gotten a standing ovation. So no, Mortdecai isn't a comedy. It doesn't even deserve to be referred to as a comedy, even if you put the word "bad" or "awful" in front of it.

Can someone explain to me what Johnny Depp is even doing anymore? What in god's name is happening? I mean, I never loved the guy, but this has to be rock bottom. If you have seen the Judd Apatow picture Funny People, you may recall that the character played by Adam Sandler, George Simmons, had been in many clearly terrible films that by merely looking at the posters they created for them you had to laugh, not because they were actually worthy of it but because you couldn't believe how awful they were. One of them was called Re-Do and the image is of Sandler but as a giant baby in a diaper. Another is titled MerMan and it features Sandler flying in the air, half human being, half mermaid. The implication here is that George Sanders was once a promising presence in comedy, and his career turned into total shit and he phoned it in for the money.

So now that you know what I am referring to, just take a look at the poster for Mortdecai. Essentially, Johnny Depp is the fictional George Sanders.

I laughed at multiple times during this film, but not because the material worked or the completely outlandish and unfunny lead performance achieved anything worth while. I laughed because I couldn't believe what I was watching. I couldn't make sense of seeing all these recognizable movie stars in the same frame, saying these words and this being a cinematic release that a studio thought was a good idea, even if it was relegated to the wastelands of January. 

Alright, that's enough. I can't waste any more time on this "movie" Do me a favor: if you feel even the slightest urge to see Mortdecai while standing in line at the box office this weekend, go ahead and purchase a ticket but don't walk away after it is handed to you. Just look the teenager behind the glass in the eye and punch yourself in the face really, really hard, shake it off and collect yourself, and then pass the ticket back to him and ask for a refund. Now, go see ANYTHING else. You will thank me later.



  1. Haven't seen this one, but I know what you mean about Depp. When I watched him in the 'The Tourist' I couldn't believe it was by the same director of one of my favorite films, 'The Lives of Others'. It was just awful; don't know what happened with either of those two guys. This review made me laugh--your short story actually sounds pretty good. Thanks, booger eater! :) -Donna

    1. Luckily I have never seen The Tourist, I heard too many horror stories and it was released at a time when I wasn't as into watching literally everything I can (which is my current approach, everything and anything, give it a chance).

      Thanks for reading the review and the kind words, I appreciate it so much. This is what I love to do, so anytime I get positive feedback it's a pretty special feeling.

    2. I'm the opposite--I used to watch anything and everything, now I rarely go to the theatre and I use reviews like yours (and a few other knowledgeable folks in the Film Community circle) to narrow down the few I feel are worth spending my time on. So I definitely appreciate your efforts.

      Btw, I read your review of 'The Tree of Life' (another one I've not seen yet, but will) and it was amazingly touching, Scott. Not only do you know a lot about film, but you're a great writer. Hope you keep them coming!

    3. Well I'm glad you look at me as a knowledgeable folks and I may actually sway you one way or the other to deciding what to watch, that means a lot.

      Thank you so much in regards to The Tree of Life. It is my favorite film of all time because of what it means to me personally, as I assume you can tell from my review it had a pretty profound impact on my life.

      I appreciate the kind words and not to worry, I will without a doubt keep em' coming. I ran through about four films just last night, just need the time to properly review them.