What/Why/How Review: Mortdecai

Mortdecai onesheetSometimes all you want to know is “what is this?”, “why should I see it?” and “how’d you like it?” So here’s the lowdown on Mortdecai!

What:  An idiot that somehow has incredible luck as a nowhere-near-legal art dealer/smuggler/cad, Mortdecai tries to find the whereabouts of a painting that just may be the key to riches, riches, riches!  Good thing too, as he’s going broke.  Don’t tell his wife.

Why:  If you like films so incredibly stupid that they come right round to being funny, this is definitely your cup of champagne.  As Morty’s wife Johanna, Gwyneth Paltrow gets to riff on the “ice queen” personal she often gets pegged with.  Paul Bettany plays the usual Kato-esque figure with some definite twists.  Ewan McGregor and Olivia Munn practically chew the scenery as Johanna’s jealous ex Martland and wealthy socialite Georgina.  Watching these folks having a whole lot of fun is itself a whole lot of fun.  Of course, a few beers — or glasses of the bubbly? — is highly encouraged for folks who need to loosen up before laughing out loud.

How: I loved this film.  It’s the kind of film that gives absolutely zero if you like it or not.  It’s doing its thing, and you can either come along for the ride or not.  And you really should.  The cast is obviously having a great time, and the jokes are so deadpan and off-kilter it’s as if James Bond and Benny Hill decided to write a screenplay.  Yep, this has a straight-up British humor vibe, so I understand why a lot of American critics didn’t like it.  Then again, I hated the obvious pandering and pointless over-the-top “humor” in the Pink Panther films, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.  Mortdecai is stupid funny, with a heavy emphasis on stupid.  The cast all work together well, and obviously love digging into the quips and gags that are strewn about for them to play with.  Watch it now, and when it becomes a cult hit — and it will — you can dust off your best foppy Mortdecai pompousness and say you saw it when everyone hated it.  Morty would approve, I’m sure.

[NOTE: I received a gift-pack of Mortdecai swag when the film opened in theaters earlier this year.  That didn’t have any influence on my review, though the t-shirt is pretty sweet.]

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