Johnny Depp as Mortdecai

Mortdecai is a delightful romp of a film starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Paul Bettany that jets all over the world and into the underbelly of the British art scene. And I highly recommend it, if you like that kind of thing.

Johnny Depp as Mortdecai

What I mean by “that kind of thing” is a very wacky performance by Depp, which we should all have come to expect by now, from the man who portrayed Willy Wonka and Captain Jack Sparrow as he did. Depp’s Mortdecai is a truly strange man, and at first you wonder just how many times he can actually do those things with his face before you want to scream. But then you get into it, or at least I did. And then it just cracked me up every time he spoke.

Mortdecai is the husband of a British lady (Paltrow) of some means, and they live in a Manor house of course, complete with a manservant (Bettany), but it’s a tiny bit shabby and they seem to have fallen into a bit of debt as the movie opens. This leads Lady Mortdecai to suggest selling some of their art collection, which of course is the last thing Mr. Mortdecai wants to do.

But the bills must get paid, and in a hurry, so he consents to the sale and also agrees to help his old frenemy Inspector Martland of MI5 (McGregor) with solving a mysterious art theft, which Martland promises will keep the authorities from pursuing charges against Mortdecai for some questionable dealings in his past.

And hijinks ensue.

And do they ever! There are airplane trips to Moscow and Los Angeles, cameo appearances by other terrific actors, fabulous parties, flaming cocktails, comic violence, and chase scenes galore.

Running throughout the story is the iconic mustache all the stars are sporting in the publicity posters, but which only Mortdecai actually has in the film. His wife is so utterly disgusted by it that she bans him from their bedroom and literally gags every time he tries to kiss her. It’s a very strange and hilarious through-line that plays out all the way to the very end.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mortdecai and plan to see it again (and again).

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of



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