Matthew Lickona 2:57 p.m., May 17
The Pink Panther
The resurrection of the pratfall-prone Inspector Clouseau can hardly be judged a degradation of the original Blake Edwards film of the same name, seeing as how Edwards himself degraded it in the process of doing seven sequels, including a posthumous patchwork with the peerless Peter Sellers, a substitution of the maladroit Frenchman by an unrelated American cop played by Ted Wass, and another substitution of him by his bastard son, the very Italian Roberto Benigni. Plus, Alan Arkin had a go at the character under the direction of Bud Yorkin in the Inspector Clouseau of 1968, before Edwards saw the wisdom, or the profit, in resuming the series himself. So now — and so what? — we get a game Steve Martin under the direction of Shawn Levy (Cheaper by the Dozen, again starring Martin) for another round of broken English, broken furniture, broken bones, etc. Political correctness has dictated that the function of the Oriental manservant Cato will here be filled by a deadpan cop partner, Jean Reno; and a rather halfhearted Kevin Kline takes the place of the wholehearted Herbert Lom in the part of Clouseau's hair-tearing superior. Beyoncé Knowles pitches in some pulchritude, and Emily Mortimer reminds us that a French accent can also be cute. The whole business is a matter more of maintenance than invention, more hard work than humor, like some TV sitcom that has outstayed its welcome. Amid the thickening glut of remakes and sequels, however, there is no cause to come down particularly hard on this one. The undemanding will not be disappointed. 2006.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated PG | 1 hour, 32 minutes
- Official website