Mortdecai the Movie

MortdecaiI thought Mortdecai was funny. So shoot me! After reading several reviews and seeing the dismal box office numbers, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this film. But I can honestly say, it was pretty funny.
The problem, in my opinion, is that Johnny Depp’s loyal followers are clueless as to the identity of Peter Sellers or, for that matter, the Pink Panther series of movies that this film strongly pulls from. And the type of foppish British gentleman that Depp is poking fun at is not known to young adults or Western audiences in this day and age.

I’m wondering who “green-lighted” this project? Perhaps the same one who thought it was a good idea to make the Lone Ranger with Depp as Tonto or the Exodus film about Passover that was released just in time for Thanksgiving. All these and similar missteps (The Interview?) give me reason to doubt the intelligence of the Marketing departments at some of the major Hollywood studios.

I predict this film will do well on video. Perhaps overseas it will find a more favorable market. Maybe not in Britain, but in France and other European countries, this type of humor based on the stupidity of the Englishman may have a following.

Gwyneth Paltrow is quite good as the sophisticated wife running rings around her shallow husband, Mortdecai. Paltrow’s natural insouciance and excellent comic timing give her an edge in this light romp about a stolen Art masterpiece. Ewan McGregor is fine as the third wheel, but the entire film rests with Depp. He is funny and fairly physical in this retro role of a foppish and perpetually foggy caricature of an elitist British Lord complete with manservant.

The plot is not as sophisticated as the original Pink Panther with Peter Sellers, nor is it as uniquely zany as the Monty Python films. But it does have its moments, and there are enough among us who will remember with fondness the Pink Panther series and the bumbling style of comedy perfected by Sellers.

If you are looking for some light entertainment and are over the age of forty, Mortdecai may be worth seeing on the big screen. This film does justice to some of the lesser outings in the Panther series. But the problem is, none of Johnny Depp’s fans would remember or care about a rather insipid series of films from the past. Therein lies the rub…Mortdecai may flourish once it moves to Video on Demand, but apparently, it’s not destined to be a hit film.

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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