There’s no way of judging what is truly the worst movie ever. We should immediately dispense with those that have no pretensions. “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, “Octaman”, “Reefer Madness”, as well as any title followed by a number should be automatically eliminated from consideration for this contemptible compendium.
That leaves us with such classics as “Gigli”, “Ishtar”, “Heaven’s Gate”, “Battlefield Earth”, and their ilk, movies that someone, somewhere must have believed had redeeming qualities. They were wrong. Wikipedia has a pretty good list of such beasts.
It’s time to add one more to the list: “Mortdecai”. It baffles me how a movie with such quality contributors could be so wretched. It’s a comedy without a single laugh, just a series of lame gags unrelated to the supposedly sacrosanct “spine of the story”, most repeated ad nauseum, just in case you missed them the first six times.
From what I’ve read, the blame for this fiasco should be laid at the feet of Johnny Depp, whose career has gone from brilliant actor to something marginally more impressive than sideshow freak. His returns at the box office have taken a similar tailspin. Deservedly so.
The next night, I watched a dime-a-dozen made-for-TV romcom that was infinitely more enjoyable. Unlike Mortdecai, this one actually had a few laughs in it. With probably 1/100th the budget. Is anyone in Hollywood doing ROI for laughs?
Funny thing about this is that it’s relatively easy to determine whether a comedy works or not. Show it to an audience and listen. Is anyone laughing? If not, the movie stinks. (Sadly, there’s no similar litmus test available for dramas, save the rare tear-jerker during which you can count sniffles. That measure is skewed during cold season, however.)
I cannot imagine an audience watching (more accurately, “enduring”) this drivel and laughing. Perhaps the test screeners mistook groans of pain for guffaws of pleasure. I can think of no other explanation.
Lesson learned: It is possible to see a movie for free and still pay too much.
Consider yourself warned.