"A Worthy Successor"
No one can truly replace Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in the popular, hilarious PINK PANTHER movies by Blake Edwards. After a slow start in this remake, Steve Martin makes a worthy successor, however. Assisting his agile performance is a good script that, once it gets going, has plenty of laugh-out-loud, amusing sequences, as well as clever plot twists, to keep viewers entertained and engrossed.
THE PINK PANTHER opens with a murder at a soccer game between France and China. The disliked coach of the French team has been murdered and his priceless ring with the Pink Panther diamond is missing. Chief Inspector Dreyfus, played by Kevin Kline, believes that he can finally win the French Medal of Honor if he gives Officer Jacques Clouseau, played by Steve Martin, the case and take over for Clouseau when he fails. Dreyfus thinks Clouseau is completely incompetent.
Recently given the rank of inspector, Clouseau seems to prove Dreyfus correct in his assessment. Clouseau also doesn’t know that the assistant Dreyfus has given him, Ponton (played by Jean Reno), is spying on Clouseau for Dreyfus. When Clouseau seems to be having some success, Dreyfus invents a plan to make Clouseau look like the fool that he is. His plan works. Only some last-minute detective work can help save poor Clouseau and solve the case.
THE PINK PANTHER has the usual gags one would expect from a remake of such a classic. The movie comes into its own, however, with some outstanding comic sequences and clever plot twists. One of the movie’s best running jokes is Clouseau unknowingly tripping and hurting professional bicyclists in various ways. Another very funny bit involves Clouseau playing “Good Cop, Bad Cop” on a suspect – all by himself. When his partner tells him that usually two cops pull that routine, Clouseau is unconcerned. Of course, there is the usual bit of funny business between Clouseau and Dreyfus, which Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom inaugurated in the second Clouseau movie, A SHOT IN THE DARK. All the humor in this movie comes down to the final revelation of who killed the coach and who took the diamond: all revealed at a VIP party, of course.
Clouseau’s character changed from the first Peter Sellers movie to the last one. The new movie is no different. Steve Martin, who co-wrote the script, brings an absurdist, lanky quality to the character. The script and his performance also manage to generate a fair amount of sympathy for Clouseau when Dreyfus finally takes him off the case. In the very first Clouseau movie with Peter Sellers, also titled THE PINK PANTHER, Clouseau was not the hero, but, here, in Martin’s version (as in the later movies with Sellers), Clouseau is a bumbling hero. Like Maxwell Smart in the GET SMART series on television, Clouseau has his heart in the right place and has just enough moxie and talent to finally succeed and beat the bad guys.
Despite some light sexual innuendo and brief, but light, foul language, THE PINK PANTHER has a strong moral worldview. Bumbling, clueless and conceited though he may be, Martin’s Clouseau is a decent, earnest fellow who has a heart for catching criminals, promoting justice and serving his country. Also despite the sexual innuendo, marriage and fidelity are implicitly extolled in one minor sub-plot at the end. Final judgment? Based on the one screening, we give the new PINK PANTHER three stars and a Minus One caution for children aged eight through 13. It is not a movie for children under age eight.
(BB, Pa, C, PP, Cap, L, VV, S, A, D, M) Strong, sometimes implied, moral worldview in a comic tone about catching killers, promoting justice and serving society, marred by some sexual innuendo and bumbling French hero's contemporary, pagan acceptance of fooling around and trying to use what appears to be Viagra, plus slight, positive reference to Catholic nun who helps orphans and strong patriotic sentiments expressed and generally positive, but brief, depiction of America, an American, capitalism, and America's fast-food hamburger culture; four light obscenities, two light profanities, man in intense pain tries to say "f" word but it is completely garbled and unintelligible, and a couple jokes about passing gas; significant amounts, but usually very light individually, of comic violence with no or little blood, including elderly woman gets bonked on head, bicyclists take a tumble in several scenes, dead man has poison dart sticking out of his neck, gun fires and kills man off-screen, dead body with chalk outline, police say man has been shot dead in the head, bumbling policeman threatens witness with electric shock by reaching under table and (implied) attaching electrodes in his own pants and, outside room, people can hear policeman's screams and later viewers see smoke coming out of policeman's pants, fighting, punching, robbers let off tear gas in casino and man traveling on wire shoots them down to stop robbery, man's thumb painfully stuck in door, and policeman's superior gets stuck, dragged by car, hit, and rolled out window; light sexual innuendo done in light comic tone includes man lifts woman down from desk in awkward position, man pats woman on rear, man tries to take what appears to be a Viagra pill in order to seduce beautiful suspect (but nothing happens between them because things go wrong when pill falls out of his hand), slightly suggestive dancing looks comical, and light oblique innuendo about erection; no nudity, but female cleavage; alcohol; smoking; and, apparent stealing, talk about gambling and embezzling money for gambling, and bumbling policeman is a bit conceited and impressed with his own abilities but he has a heart for catching criminals, promoting justice and serving his country.
The new PINK PANTHER remake stars Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Clouseau must contend with a thief, a killer, his deceitful boss, and two spies: all in his first case. Someone has killed the coach for the French soccer team and taken the coach's Pink Panther diamond ring. Could it be the coach's beautiful girlfriend? His business partner? The team trainer? A business rival? Or someone else? Clouseau must find the killer before his wily boss, Chief Inspector Dreyfus, finds a way to take the case and get all the glory.
No one can truly replace Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, but Steve Martin makes a worthy successor in this remake. Martin brings an absurdist, lanky quality to the character in several very funny scenes. The script he co-wrote has some good plot twists too. Despite light sexual innuendo and brief, but light, foul language, THE PINK PANTHER has a strong moral worldview. Bumbling, clueless and conceited though he may be, Martin's Clouseau is a decent, earnest fellow who has a heart for catching criminals, promoting justice and serving his country. Caution is advised, however, for children age eight through 13.