Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Pink Panther

The Pink Panther; comedy, USA/ France, 2006; D: Shawn Levy, S: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles, Emily Mortimer, Henry Czerny, Jason Statham, Clive Owen

Paris. In order to solve the murder of football trainer Yves Gluant and the disappearance of his diamond ring, "The Pink Panther", chief inspector Dreyfus hires the clumsy Inspector Clouseau, hoping in advance that he will fail, thus giving Dreyfus the chance to solve the case himself and win the "Medal of Honor". However, together with his associate Ponton and secretary Nicole, the clumsy Clouseau actually manages to find the killer - Yuri - and the solve the whereabouts of the diamond ring.

It would arguably be wrong to just dismiss the 2006 remake of the "The Pink Panther" series as an unworthy and cheap comedy that relies too much on the main protagonist tripping or bumping into something, yet the original was just a more skillful variation of the same shtick, except for maybe part 4, "The Revenge of the Pink Panther", which had moments of high inspiration in choreographing some stunts and movements almost as a meticulous ballet. Despite of his funny interpretation as Clouseau, Sellers never really cared for the role and gladly passed it on, yet when comedian Steve Martin took over, he managed to give a more-or-less good performance, a one which saved the film which otherwise relies too much on heavy handed (instead of elevated) slapstick. This version of "The Pink Panther" has only one truly hilarious, laugh-out-loud moment, the 2 minute long sequence where the dialect coach is repeating the line "I would like to buy a Hamburger" and tries to teach Clouseau to speak it out with an American accent, but he just hopelessly repeats it again and again with a French accent, whereas the remaining part of the story is standard, predictable, sometimes 'politically incorrect' in trying to squeeze "humor" out of hurting someone, yet solid as a whole, among others thanks to Jean Reno, who actually steals almost every scene he is in as Clouseau's partner.


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