Far from the chocolaty-sweet Johnny Depp seen in Charlie over the summer, the actor's latest creation has all the warmth of slimy goo, something that's both figuratively and literally on display here. Depp plays the Earl of Rochester in 17th-century England. He's a sexually active, bisexual playwright, full of self-confidence and, as it turns out, disease.
He's asked by King Charles II (John Malkovich) to pen a stage production to celebrate his royal greatness, but Depp decides to make the play a tool to turn the king into a fool. Big mistake. As Depp grows sick--boils, lesions and all--the king turns his back on his once favorite confidant. The film relies heavily on Depp's performance, but it's so over the top that it's just not that entertaining. And first-time director Laurence Dunmore doesn't know what else to do with the rest of the movie. Just close your mind to The Libertine.