The Pink Panther (2006)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Crime Comedy, Farce
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Shawn Levy Shawn Levy
Steve Martin Steve Martin
Kevin Kline Kevin Kline
Jean Reno Jean Reno
Emily Mortimer Emily Mortimer
Henry Czerny Henry Czerny

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: February 15, 2006
Peter Sellers might not be rolling over in his grave, but he certainly isn't whistling a jaunty little tune either. The Peter Sellers driven Inspector Clouseau was hysterical -- one of the true great comic icons in motion picture history. The Steve Martin driven Inspector Clouseau is an over-the-top French Ace Ventura (yes, you can get more over-the-top than Jim Carrey). The remake of "The Pink Panther" is harmless enough, I suppose, but it is certainly not what I expected from the fine cast involved with the film. "The Pink Panther" is a stereotypical comedy with stereotypical characters and stereotypical pay-offs. There are no unique surprises or unexpected happenings in the film. We see everything coming a mile away, from the opening credits to the final homage to the classic "Scooby Doo" ending. The remake of "The Pink Panther" is, above all else, a family film. Though there are some sexual innuendos and adult suggestions, it is nothing that the younger ones will understand. And, the physical comedy is so harmless, it will have your six-year-old rolling in the aisles, while you chuckle at the occasional Steve Martin accent guffaw. "The Pink Panther" is an American icon, and this remake merely confirms that there is always a market for stupidity.

Steve Martin stars as the legendary Clouseau, who is recruited by the underhanded Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline) to take over the case of a murdered soccer coach (Jason Statham) and the missing Pink Panther diamond. Dreyfus hopes that, since Clouseau is the most idiotic inspector working in France, he will fumble the case, thus causing Dreyfus to come in and save the day and be assured his Medal of Honor victory, after losing three times in a row. He assigns a man named Ponton (Jean Reno) to serve as Clouseau's partner, who also reports back to Dreyfus on all of Clouseau's goings on. Beyonce Knowles co-stars as a famous international recording star and girlfriend to the deceased soccer player, and Emily Mortimer as Nicole, Dreyfus' lovely secretary who develops an affection for Clouseau. So, there you have it, folks -- you're plot. As you might expect, Clouseau is a moron and is constantly looking for the wrong suspects, but of course ends up finding the right one and saving the day. Also, as you might expect, Dreyfus is a scheming power hungry cow who will stop at nothing to ruin Clouseau's investigation.

Most of the humor in "The Pink Panther" comes from Clouseau's bizarre French accent. Sellers mastered this accent, but was able to walk that line between hilarious and absurd. Martin crosses that line a few too many times. His accent is obviously just that...an accent. I only found one use of the accent as a source of amusement and that was when an American dialect coach was attempting to get Clouseau to say the phrase, "I would like to buy a hamburger". That was funny, primarily due to Martin's subtleties with that scene. Everywhere else, he is all over the map. Kevin Kline's accent was abysmal. It was one of the worst film accents I have ever heard. Most of the time, he didn't even use the accent -- he just sounded like Kevin Kline. I would think an actor of Kline's ability would have a better time with that kind of accent -- remember "French Kiss"? There was also little spark in Beyonce's performance as the singer star. The best part of the film was the underrated Jean Reno in one of his most outlandish roles to date. Keep in mind that this is the guy who played Leon in "The Professional". Reno and Martin have some pretty entertaining scenes together, but Martin and Kline have zero chemistry together. And, by the time Martin started with his whole 'man behind the curtain' shtick for the eightieth time, I was ready to get out of the theatre.

Fortunately, I don't think this remake of "The Pink Panther" is going to produce any sequels. The first film only produced one viable sequel, so producing them from a remake would be like attempting to top into a well that has always been dry. I give some credit to Steve Martin for truly carrying the film, but he just took it a little too far most of the time. I relate his zealous performance in this film with that of Jim Carrey in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" -- too much went too far. And, I mention again that you should not go into this theatre expecting the Kevin Kline you are use to -- this Kevin Kline looks tired and bitter, as if he does not even want to be there. Odds are, he didn't. Steve Martin helped pen the script, and you can tell some of the Martin jokes from the others, but not even the literary genius who penned "Pure Drivel" and "Shopgirl" could save this script from mediocrity. "The Pink Panther" is not a film I am going to remember in a month, or probably even a week. I can barely remember while writing this critique. It made me laugh, but they were not the kinds of laughs that make you feel good for having laughed. I didn't know if I was laughing with them, or laughing at them.

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