"The Pink Panther"
Directed by Shawn Levy.
Written by Len Blum and Steve Martin. Based on the film
series created by Blake Edwards.
Starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno and Beyoncé
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 2/13/06
When I first saw the trailer for this film,
late summer 2005, I thought for sure this was going to be complete
dogshit. Even the trailer didn't have the "that's going to be
the only funny scene in THAT movie" scene; star Steve Martin--taking
over the Peter Sellers role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau--was not
funny, Kevin Kline wasn't funny, and even the fact that crazy-hot
Beyoncé was in this and I didn't want to see it was shocking.
Then, it hit me: the remake of "The Pink Panther" had all the
makings of a train wreck.
So, thanks to the snow gods, I was stuck
with hitting the theater within walking distance of my house today,
and in doing that I was left with "Firewall" or "The Pink
Panther"...but, with a chance at a Hard Vice, I felt compelled to
check this thing out.
This go-round, Inspector Clouseau is brought
in to investigate the murder of the French national team's soccer
coach (uncredited Jason Statham), who was killed by someone
following a match on the field...while he was wearing the Pink
Panther Diamond on his hand!! The suspects are many--the
coach's pop singer girlfriend (Beyoncé, admirably playing a role
based on her real-life occupation), a couple of star players on the
team, a diamond cutter, and the team's Russian trainer (Henry
Czerny). Clouseau, aided by another French detective (Jean
Reno, the only actual French guy in the movie, I think), goes
through the motions trying to apprehend the criminal; meanwhile, his
boss--the director of the Paris police force (Kevin Kline)--is
hoping that Clouseau will bungle the investigation so that he can
swoop in and make the final arrest to earn a high-fallutin city
Slapstick is the name of the game here, and
while Martin has majored in that department for the better part of
the last 30 years, his game is off in "The Pink Panther" mostly in
trying to take the Sellers routine for this character and updating
it to the here-and-now...and, it didn't work, at least for me.
My audience, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying themselves,
most notably the kids, who seemed happy to watch Martin fall all
over himself all movie long. Add in the ridiculous facial
expressions, and anyone under 10 was having a ball. The story
for this film was bad, but not as bad as many of the
30-seconds-too-long sight gags; as an example, watching Clouseau
park his SmartCar (the European car that is just big enough for a
driver and a a purse in the "trunk") in a parking space big enough
for a stretch limo was funny...until he bumped his car into the ones
in front of, and behind, his car, oh, FIVE times.
I can't figure out why Sellers doing the
same thing would be funny to me but why Martin wasn't funny; this is
my problem with many of these remakes, because I can't always get
the original out of my head. Run-on jokes plague this film,
although it works in the film's only truly great sequence, where
Clouseau has to work with a dialect coach in order to learn how to
say the phrase "I want to order a hamburger" in perfect American
English intonation...wow, that was great. By the time he gets
to hamburger, even Scrooge would be rolling over that one.
The only other time I can remember laughing? When the pop
singer invites Clouseau up to her apartment for dinner, and Clouseau
partner offers the advice "Be careful...it could be a set-up";
Clouseau's response? "Who cares?" Beautiful, funny, and
absolutely logical. So what if you are walking to your death?
It's Beyoncé, fool!!!
Otherwise, I was mostly sitting in my chair
amused, not actually opening my mouth to laugh. It was also
strange to see a star with the wattage and much-publicized picky
nature of Clive Owen to show up in a cameo for this film...what the
fuck is he doing in this movie? The scenery was pretty, but I
couldn't tell how much of it was actually shot in France, since the
credits indicate photography from France, Rome, and the Czech
Republic, in addition to shots on location in New York City.
Hey, who knows? I know this much: "The Pink Panther" was
long, and some of that was just the feeling that came from sitting
in a comedy and not laughing. It was like that last half-hour
Crashers", where I couldn't check my watch more often than I
I'm sure that this flick made a ton of cash
this weekend, and the worse thing that will come out of this for us?
A sequel will certainly be in the works. Ugh...
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard