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Friday, 23 January 2015

Mortdecai

Kyril Bonfiglioli was an English art-dealer, actor, science fiction editor, champion swordsman, and comic novelist. He is the author of what is apparently a famous series with a lead character called Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) was supposedly eccentric and witty.  The novels that attained cult status were loaded with dry satire and black humour – Wikipedia.


Now most of us in the preview theatre yesterday were more perplexed than the characters in the plot of this supposed mystery.  We were left searching for wit, dry satire and black humour which is usually obvious in a movie with a British character at the centre.  And in that search we were all left exasperated.

So Lord Charlie Mortdecai is in a financial mess of sorts.  He lives on the outskirts of London along with his wife Lady Johanna Mortdecai (Gwyneth Paltrow) and his trusted and horny servant Jock (Paul Bettany).  The Mortdecais owe the British Government a not so small sum of 8 million quid – despite what seems to be available to the Mortdecais prima facie.

But their life is about to take a turn in the positive direction when an opportunity presents itself to Charlie.  An Oxford art restorer, Bronwen (Norma Atallah), is found skewered over her work bench.  A painting has been stolen from under her stone cold body and Mortdecai is called in to help because he is an art expert of sorts.  Will Charlie be paid 8 million to solve the puzzle? Of course not.  Thankfully there is more to it.

Mortdecai probably suffers from American treatment of an English story.  In an attempt to be more commercial, it dilutes the very essence of British humour.  While I haven’t read any of the books, I could probably make an educated guess that the books are probably much better.

The movie is more slapstick in nature with unnecessary references to stuff like a tent in your pajamas or an undue amount of emphasis on Mortdecai’s moustache or of course the very American pewking sequences (what is humours about people vomiting???).  In between all of this, one may see some flashes of acceptable humour.

Johnny Depp is especially below par.  The British accent seems exceptionally forced from the lead pair.  Probably the only person who stands head over shoulders of the rest of the cast is Paul Bettany.  But there is very little other than his performance to look forward to despite a sultry Olivia Munn making an appearance towards the end.  5 on 10 and I would be gracious with that rating.

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