Johnny Depp is poised to underwhelm at the box office for the fourth time in a row when “Mortdecai” hits theaters this weekend. And it’s no surprise: critics hate it.
The caper comedy about a bumbling art collector tasked by British authorities to track down a priceless stolen painting has accumulated just four favorable reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The rest, all 39 of them, declare that it’s just about as awful as the trailers make it look, giving it a current nine percent “rotten” rating.
“The occasional joke lands, and there’s at least some fun to be found in the frenetic farce of all the conspiracies and the running-around,” TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde wrote in his review. “Still, I spent most of the movie waiting for it to find its rhythms and set a witty pace for itself that would allow the humor to build and the outrageous situations to pay off grandly. Could we get a do-over with, say, Steven Soderbergh in the director’s chair and an actual British comedian in the title role?”
Here are some of the most scathing reviews movie critics across the nation had to offer.
Newark Star-Ledger critic Stephen Whitty:
“Depp — who used to be at least an interesting actor, remember those days? — attacks the part with the same sort of giggly glee he probably once showed playing dress-up with grandma’s Sunday best. The whole thing’s a great laugh to him, rather embarrassing to everyone else forced to watch.”
Vulture critic David Edelstein:
“Having combed Roget’s Thesaurus in vain for a suitable adjective to describe the Johnny Depp comedy Mortdecai, I’m forced to say it’s just … bad. The direction by David Koepp is bad, the screenplay by Eric Aronson very bad — though if Aronson were a bubbly American 15-year-old attempting a British caper-comedy after thrilling to a lot of old movies (which is how the script plays), I’d tell him it wasn’t too bad because puberty is difficult enough. Depp is very, very bad.”
CinemaBlend critic Mike Reyes:
“The brightest spot of ‘Mortdecai’s’ failure is that there’s now a Johnny Depp film on the books that makes ‘Transcendence’ look like an infinitely better night at the movies.”
RogerEbert.com critic Peter Sobczynski:
“With other bad films, you can sort of understand what the intentions of the filmmakers might have been before things went wrong. ‘Mortdecai,’ on the other hand, is one of those rare birds that is so off-putting in so many ways that all I could do for the most part was wonder how so many presumably intelligent people could be persuaded to sign on to produce and appear in something that could not have possibly seemed like anything other than a total mess from its earliest stages.”
USA Today critic Brian Truitt:
“With a varied wardrobe of retro men’s finery and a hirsute upper lip, the title character of the silly comedy ‘Mortdecai” is the center of a whirlwind of horrible British accents, too much gagging, not enough good gags and weak dialogue that, while not exactly terrible, is terribly boring.”
Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw:
“The poster is awful. The premise is awful. To be frank, quite a lot about it is awful: a middle-aged comedy caper of the kind not seen since Peter Sellers’s final outings as Clouseau and Fu Manchu. But in its dopey and silly way, it does deliver one or two daft laughs.”
New York Times critic Stephen Holden:
“‘Mortdecai’ might as well be called ‘The Johnny Depp Movie,’ because its preening star, wearing an ascot and a walrus mustache that becomes a tiresome running joke, is the whole show. And what a frantically dull spectacle this vanity project is.”
New York Post critic Kyle Smith:
“Director David Koepp evidently has such confidence in the comedy that he considers the haphazard plot to be incidental, but the two elements are both so boring in their incoherence that they amplify each other’s stultifying effects. Amid the random plot turns, the jokes sound like mistranslations of one-liners that were only vaguely funny in some other language: ‘I eschew discomfort,’ ‘You’re barking up the wrong Englishman,’ ‘You look like you have a vagina on your face.’ ‘Mortdecai’ typifies playful English wit in much the same way as Wimbledon is known for its monster truck rallies.”