Mortdecai didn’t receive a warm welcome on opening weekend, bringing in a fraction of what was expected while also accruing many bad reviews. The film jumped from one scene to the next without any apparent congruency, and the script seemed rudimentary. However, the wit exhibited by the three main characters redeemed the film.
Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is an aristocratic art dealer facing a midlife crisis and about eight million dollars in back taxes. He is known for his shady dealings and requires his manservant Jock (Paul Bettany) to get him out of trouble quite often. After an old Goya painting goes missing, Mortdecai’s expert knowledge of art is required to solve the mystery. One of his old friends from college, Martland (Ewan McGregor) who is now a police chief, enlists Mortdecai using his credit history as leverage. Mortdecai quickly discovers that the painting is rumored to have the code to a bank account that contains Nazi gold, written on the back.
The quest to retrieve this painting takes Mortdecai everywhere from Russia to Los Angeles. He has both revolutionaries and gang members trying to kill him. There are many hilarious fight scenes and comedic exchanges between Mortdecai and Jock. As more and more people want to attain the painting, it becomes a race against the clock for Mortdecai and his trustworthy servant.
Depp delivered a great performance as a pretentious art dealer. The cunning comebacks and smart mouthing that Depp’s Jack Sparrow character is known for seemed present in Charlie Mortdecai. While Depp did an excellent job, it was Jock who really stole the show. He was funny, wily and exhibited an incredible amount of devotion to a boss that underappreciates him. All three of these traits made Jock a very likeable character.
Mortdecai had its good moments and its bad ones. The jumpy plot and sometimes awful script really make you scratch your head. Despite these negative aspects, the film had many redeeming qualities, such as a good cast and constant humor, that made it very likeable and charming.