Under the helm of “Cheaper by the Dozen” director, Shawn Levy, the new Pink Panther plays more like “Mr. Bean” meets “Home Alone” with sanitized screwball comedy than the inspired humor that director Blake Edwards first brought to the screen in the 60’s.
It’s not to say that the new "Pink Panther" isn’t funny, it will surely keep travelers on coast-to-coast flights rolling in the aisles through the summer, it’s just that you have to wonder why. Why remake something that doesn’t need improving? There aren’t any special effects that need enhancing and there weren’t any flaws in Peter Sellers portrayal of Inspector Clouseau that needed to be fixed or even expanded on.
Steve Martin is a wild and crazy guy. Placed alongside formidable actors like Jean Reno and Kevin Kline, you would think these geniuses would be capable of coming up with something original on their own. Yet thanks to the take no chances mentality of today’s studios, these creative talents are asked to star in a retread on a classic franchise. It’s safer to release something with a recognizable brand than to take a chance with putting out something new. If Steve Martin wants to make physical comedy, let him, but allow him to create a new bumbling hero instead of tarnishing the memory of Peter Sellers comic gold.
The smart subtlety that the Peter Sellers “Pink Panther” movies were laced with, gets replaced with an overdone forced feeling that leaves you thinking this new “Pink Panther” is trying too hard.
After watching this new “Pink Panther”, my mind wrestled with these unsettled feelings, and I was compelled to seek out the Peter Sellers Clouseau on DVD. And while watching “A Shot in the Dark”, the second Inspector Clouseau movie that was recommended by Movie Magazines own producer, I no longer felt just let down by the new “Pink Panther”, but offended by it. The modern depiction of the “Pink Panther” universe at times seems like a mockery of the original, stealing only the lowest hanging morsels of humor from the “Pink Panther” legacy.
Despite all of this, there are some redeeming moments such as the animated intro done by Kurtz and Friends, as well as the jazzed up remixes of Henry Mancini’s signature score. The fresh spin on one of cinemas’ most recognizable themes will keep you humming in the car for days.
Hoping Hollywood gets off the remake train soon, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 2/15/06
The Pink Panther (2006)
USA - 2006