By Eliana Dockterman
January 23, 2015

Sometimes the best movie reviews are the ones written about the worst movies. Despite boasting an all-star cast, Johnny Depp’s new film Mortdecai has quickly emerged as an early contender for worst film of the year. It has invoked the wrath of critics (and currently has a 8% on Rotten Tomatoes), inspiring some memorably savage critical barbs. Here are some of the harshest:

Robbie Collin for The Telegraph

“It’s hard to think of a way in which the experience of watching the new Johnny Depp film could be any worse, unless you returned home afterwards to discover that Depp himself had popped round while you were out and set fire to your house.”

Kyle Smith for The New York Post

Mortdecai typifies playful English wit in much the same way as Wimbledon is known for its monster truck rallies.”

Brian Truitt, USA Today

“The actor has done a lot better than this forgettable piece of bargain-basement low art.”

Elizabeth Weitzman for New York Daily News

“Without anything funnier to offer, [director David] Koepp leans heavily on a pointless running joke about the way Mortdecai’s mustache continually triggers Johanna’s gag reflex. Should you find yourself subjected to this baffling display of wasted talent, time and resources, prepare to share her understandable instinct.”

Stephen Holden for The New York Times

“What a frantically dull spectacle this vanity project is.”

Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

Like the film as a whole, [Johnny Depp’s] performance is such a spectacular miscalculation that it begins to generate a strange fascination in that you almost want to keep watching just to see how much worse it can possibly get before it finally comes to a merciful and long-overdue conclusion.”

David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“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.”

But not everyone thought the movie was a complete disaster. The Los Angeles Times had a more generous take:

Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“If the rest of the movie, directed by David Koepp (Premium Rush, Secret Window), isn’t quite as memorable as Depp’s screwball stylings, it’s a mostly zippy, well turned-out concoction. Translated: It’s better than expected.”

 

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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