This movie initially failed to grab my attention. I never saw it in a theater but the trailer alone just didn’t seem to do anything for me. Not that I’m a Depp hater either. I like Depp. I even like him enough to own Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005) and, god willing, someday Ed Wood (1994). I know that’s not a lot of Depp films, but I think it proves my point well enough. He was even in 21 Jump Street (’87-‘91), a show I never missed back in the day. And he’s at his best when he’s portraying “eccentric” characters, but there was just something about this character, or perhaps, the movie itself, that didn’t grab me. I do know the movie came out in January and I do know studios sometimes dump what they perceive as stinkers during those winter months, so I had a feeling the general consensus was not expected to be positive.
Anyhow, I was still curious about it so when the opportunity came along to score a review copy, I thought, sure, what the hell. I even had a Facebook friend reject my offer of the digital copy, which was even more proof I should probably lower my expectations. I did, and sometimes that’s a good thing, because when a movie like this does pan out, you’re more elated than normal. Yes, Mortdicai elated me. I liked it.
Johnny Depp plays the title character. Charlie Mortdicai is an art dealer, which was kind of a revelation, for some reason I had the impression he was a detective when I first saw the trailer. No, he’s an art dealer who’s kind of a borderline criminal. Mortdicai also has a hot wife; her name’s Johanna and she’s played by Gwyneth Paltrow. He also has a man servant; Jock Strapp is his name. I’m not kidding. That’s his actual name. Paul Bettany plays him. The running gag with him is that he loves to plow just about any chick he can find, and Depp, who’s lousy at handling guns, is always wounding him. You see Jock is also his bodyguard, so when a transaction “goes bad” Jock is there to kick ass and save Mortdicai.
Mortidicai also has an arch enemy, well, maybe not so arch or an enemy, but someone he knew in college who also had the hots for his wife. He’s played by Ewan McGregor and his name is Inspector Martland. Yeah, that’s right, he’s a cop, and when certain art crimes need to have a “specialist” involved Martland turns to Mortdicai. He doesn’t like Morty because he still desires his Johanna, someone he would have had in college had Morty not got to her first.
These are your main players.
Morty and his wife have fallen on bad times financially, but before they have a chance to do anything about it Martland comes a calling. A legendary painting needs to be found. They call it the Goya, and this woman was working on it, restoring it, I believe, when she took an arrow in the back and it was stolen. Morty only agrees to help if they can sell the painting later so he and Johanna can get out debt. Martland agrees.
From here on out we meet some shady characters who all want this painting. This “case” takes Morty all over Europe with the final act, a portion of it anyway, taking place in the US, where Morty discovers he’s already unknowingly delivered the painting to this Milton Krampf (Jeff Goldblum who’s in the film for a total of somewhere around 10-minutes). Morty was unwittingly used as a “mule” delivering the painting hidden in this car, which he delivered to Krampf. Krampf also has a hot wife. Georgina is her name and Olivia Munn plays her. Georgina’s a nymphomaniac. Krampf knows this and is apparently all right with it based on the casual remark he gives Morty as he’s heading up the stairs of his Los Angeles mansion preparing for this fancy party Krampf is throwing that evening: “If you’re lucky you’ll be able to couple with Georgina. She’s already gone through half the staff.” Or words to that effect.
There is some laugh out loud site gags, and some good chuckle worthy ones. Family Guy has cornered the market, if you ask me, on puke gags, this movie has some too, but none like Seth McFarlane’s toon. Well, there might be one that almost measures up.
I enjoyed this flick. I found it rather calming too. I don’t know, it may have something to do with the British countryside and lifestyle. My grandmother on my father’s side was Scottish and my grandfather on my mother’s side was from Britain so who knows maybe love for UK life is in my DNA.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.40:1 high definition widescreen— 7.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital—English, English SDH, Spanish subs only
Extras included on both the blu and DVD include…
- Stolen Moments: On The Set Of Mortdicai (16:33)
- The Art Of Noise: Making Music For Mortdicai (12:25)
- Theatrical Trailer
This movie is based on a novel called, “Don’t Point That Thing At Me” by Kyril Bonfiglioli, he also wrote two follow-ups and had this movie not flopped there might have been a chance to see two more Mortdicai sequels. I’m hoping this happens regardless. It could, if the movie is a hit overseas, or on disc, or both.