My notes on Mortdecai:
1. After a string of box office flops, has Johnny Depp’s quirkiness finally overstayed its welcome? Sure, he was hilarious (and even Academy-nominated) in his famous roles as Jack Sparrow, The Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, and Sweeney Todd. But after playing one campy role after another in recent movies (pasty-white vampire in Dark Shadows, bumbling Native American in The Lone Ranger, and virtual data dust in Transcendence), is it finally time to say enough is enough? Can we have the old, normal Depp please?
2. Mortdecai looked like a career killer (if The Tourist wasn’t bad enough) and this could be the final nail on the coffin. It was a terrible, incredibly corny, infantile, unfunny “comedy” that didn’t even come close to the comedic genius of the Austin Powers movies (yes, even the worst one in the series).
3. Unfortunately, the movie came on the heels of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Depp here was no Ralph Fiennes.
4. Why would a well-trimmed mustache trigger a gag reflex anyway? And how many times did they have to repeat that gag on the gag reflex? How many times did they have to repeat almost all the lame jokes? Did they have to repeat them over and over? Repeat pa more.
5. Aside from Depp, this movie also had Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, and Jeff Goldblum. Imagine that awesome pool of talents wasted in an embarrassing movie.
(Originally published January 28, 2015.)
A Republican senator falling for a Latina maid would be even more of a fantasy now compared to when this fairy tale originally came out fifteen years ago. I’d be less surprised to see a movie with Jennifer Lopez as another Boy Next Door-ish cougar to Tyler Posey, who actually played her very young Bread-listening son here.
Poor Frances Conroy and the late Natasha Richardson were wasted as secondary caricatures, but even moreso the Actor Commonly Known as Voldemort. It was a bit uncomfortable to watch the dignified Ralph Fiennes trying his best Hugh Grant impression, made worse by his complete lack of chemistry with J.Lo. They obviously needed a dose of love potion from the Weasleys.
To be fair though, this movie (along with Miss Congeniality) had one of the most memorable makeover reveals in current cinema outside of the Anne Hathaway Universe (The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries, Les Miserables, err…). A radiant J.Lo in a pink strapless chiffon gown with a million dollar Harry Winston wreath necklace would be a maid’s ultimate dream. Well that and of course Gelli de Belen and her unlimited bikini collection in Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin (Camiguin).
I hadn’t read the play that this movie was based on and after watching this, I guess I’d never get myself to doing it.
The film was set in the modern times with characters that spoke like they were in a theater (yes, they talked in Shakespearean verses) and I didn’t really get the point of this combination. It was just hard to hear people converse like that unless they were wearing tights or balloon skirts. I had more fun counting the people that walked out of the cinema.
The best things about this film were the actors and their performances. Ralph Fiennes will forever be Voldemort to me and he didn’t disappoint here. The stand-out though was Vanessa Redgrave who gave a chilling performance as a ferocious mother (reminiscent me of Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom). Brian Cox and Jessica Chastain rounded up the strong supporting cast.
And then there was Gerard Butler, who looked lost in all the dialogue, ready to declare war on his agent.