Mortdecai - DVD Review

'assuming you can put up with, or have a predilection for, Johnny Depp pulling funny faces, then there is a level of fun to be had here'

The near universally-panned Mortdecai is by no means a Comedy revolution but, assuming you can put up with, or have a predilection for, Johnny Depp pulling funny faces, then there is a level of fun to be had here, not reflected in the film's initial reception.

Judging on laugh count alone, no, this isn't the funniest film you'll see this year (as recommendations go, I'm aware we're off to a bad start), but Mortdecai isn't quite that sort of Comedy. Instead, there are a smattering of well-scripted chortles to induce wry smiles ('don't imbibe the crime scene', as Depp's Charlie Mortdecai picks up a bottle of spirit/evidence) and a passingly funny air carried off on the back of the star's facial expressions, broad conceits (Martland (Ewan McGregor) cannot say no to Mortdecai's wife (Gwyneth Paltrow)) and slightly unexpected moments of violence and slapstick (a final fight between Mortdecai and Emil (Jonny Pasvolsky) is fine).

Indeed, a short section in Los Angeles has several really good Comedy moments, including a collection of hipsters piling into a lift, where the moustache-obsessed Mortdecai becomes increasingly self-conscious. Paul Bettany's Jock doesn't get the best lines (actually, he has hardly any) but his relationship with Mortdecai is an almost constant source of mirth that helps to underpin the more itinerant laughs.

It's not without clear problems. Eric Aronson's screenplay is overly reliant on Mortdecai's narration, which isn't funny or unique enough to take up the time that it does. In amongst the slapstick and the scripting there are also jokes that, in turn, rely too heavily on a fear of homosexuality, laddish humour covering female sexuality or vomit. They aren't big or clever and elements elsewhere show that there could have been more to the film than that level of humour. The central mystery is nothing more than a caper to enable the laughs, but even so you feel it could have been better. It's fine though: forgettable fayre for a bargain Friday night rental in four months time, when it disappears from the memory of most.

Mortdecai is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 8th June 2015.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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