Mortdecai is many things: an aristocratic bon vivant, an art expert, and a petty criminal. He is the sort of worthless cad that is continually spending beyond his enormous means but who somehow seems to avoid ever having to pay the piper. In that respect he is the exact opposite of the actor who plays him, because Mortdecai is also another one of Johnny Depp's many recent flops; after years of leading a charmed life that guy seems to have hit a karmic brick wall where everything he touches turns to crap.
And indeed, Mortdecai is a pretty crappy movie. It opens with our roguish "hero" in a bind: he owes millions of pounds in back taxes to the British government that he absolutely cannot afford to pay. A police inspector uses that leverage to force Mortdecai to help him solve a murder - an old woman was killed while she was restoring an old painting and the inspector needs Mortdecai's black market art connections to track down who bought the painting. Before too long, Mortdecai is neck-deep in a complicated plot where he has to outwit some criminals (who want him dead) and the cops (who won't let him keep the long-lost Goya masterwork for himself if he manages to recover it.) The heart of the story is a twisting mystery that's too involved to be worth keeping track of and the comedy beats that the film tries to lay on top of its twists and turns just aren't funny. Mortdecai's idea of a running joke is having Johnny Depp wear a ridiculous mustache, but I live in a town that is overrun with ridiculous mustaches so that joke lost it's novelty for me a long time ago.
This movie's largest stumbling block is definitely it's main character. Mortdecai is the sort of selfish and spineless wimp who would make an annoying but slightly acceptable sidekick, but he is far too cowardly to act as the main protagonist in his own story - you want to see the hero take care of his own business instead of constantly sending in his manservant to do his dirty work for him. And the fact that he has a manservant highlights his other big problem - this movie is also completely out of step with the current zeitgeist, which is much more friendly towards the put upon common man than it is towards the self-indulgent dandy. This script might have worked as a screwball comedy in the 50s starring Cary Grant, but I think that ship has sailed. In 2015 Mortdecai isn't a harmless goof, he's part of the 1%. As such, it's absolutely absurd to think that I would be rooting for this lazy prick to get millions of dollars from selling a purloined painting instead of thinking about how shitty it is that people like Mortdecai can make it to middle age without ever having to work a single day in their life.
I mean, seriously: Mortdecai can go fuck himself.
But that's enough bitterness; the Gods that dole out box office rewards and punishments have already punished this movie enough and there is no point in beating a dead horse. Instead, I think that it might be more productive for me to try to correct Mortdecai's massive lack of humor by providing some jokes of my own.
You see, I used to run a comics website for many years, and it's not like I stopped coming up with funny ideas once my outlet for expressing them dried out. I try not to derail my movie reviews with too many self indulgent non-sequitirs, but if the alternative is spending more time talking about this unpleasant footnote of a movie... Well, then why not?
So without further ado, here are a few comics I made that I haven't found a better outlet for:
You know, they say that people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I do not know if that applies here; perhaps these cartoons are legitimately less funny than a ridiculously well-groomed mustache. But whether those cartoons are funny or not, they were definitely the work of my hand and not my manservant's.
Seriously: fuck a manservant.
Winner: The Cat