An alternative title for “Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Save the Planet” could be “Mission: Save Your Money.” Mirthless comedy looks aces but has a script that underestimates the intelligence of even its potential child audiences. Less engaging than the first film to be based on the popular Spanish comicbooks by Francisco Ibanez, this late-January release has still done good B.O at home. Offshore, only the occasional Spanish-language distrib will beckon.
The evil Botijola (Carlos Santos) plans to substitute the world’s water with a liquid product of his own. Secret agents Mortadelo (Edu Soto) and Filemon (Pepe Viyuela) are reunited to tackle the problem by locating a rain-making machine Botijola has captured, but they must travel back in time to recover it. Visual jokes occasionally hit the mark and thesps are appropriately physical and cartoonish, but basically, this is a lengthy parade of retro knockabout gags, many of them meaningless outside Spain. The inclusion of a CGI dog called Bush and a Michael Jackson impersonation add little, but as per comicbooks, there are some wonderfully imaginative contraptions on display and Anton Laguna’s production design is first-class.