The bounty of bawdy bits feel borrowed from Benny Hill ("No woman's ever handled my Herschel before!" says a stunned telescope operator), while the slapstick violence skews toward the Three Stooges.
Is this really only the fifth entry in the Pirates film franchise? It feels like the 50th. Except for Javier Bardem, who brings a dollop of fresh mischief to this paycheck party, Dead Men has all the flavor of rotting leftovers.
Directors Joachim R�nning and Espen Sandberg work up a stormy sea-parting finale that is better than anything in The Ten Commandments. Again, the trick to enjoying this film is to expect nothing.
I daresay it is the very best fourth sequel ever made to a movie based on a 50-year-old theme park ride.
There are no new treasures to be found in this installment, which is dragged down by the anchor of a prescribed franchise blueprint.
Now in its fifth outing and trying to press reset after an unnecessary fourth movie, Depp's campy performance in that role is losing crucial energy and humour.
It's fast paced but goes nowhere new and the film's "bigness" makes it hard to remember what an amazingly unexpected treasure The Curse of the Black Pearl was.
We had zero hope for the fifth chapter in the waterlogged Pirates of The Caribbean franchise. And we were wrong. This thing is terrific.
Productions like this come and go, crumbling tentpoles to be replaced by new timber, but they are self-fulfilling prophecies, and dire ones, about the future of the theatrical movie business. They're accomplices in a soul heist.