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The Pink Panther

Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG
Directed by
: Shawn Levy
Starring: Steve Martin, Beyonce Knowles, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Jason Statham, Clive Owen
Released by: Sony Pictures

In Short: Steve Martin's slapstick and funny accent can't quite make this rehash of the classic "Pink Panther" movies stand up to the inevitable comparisons.

A Pale Pink Imitation
Don't Mess With a Classic
By Jenny Peters

Revisiting "The Pink Panther"/Inspector Clouseau well that Peter Sellers made famous in six movies from 1963 to 1978 may have sounded like a great idea, especially with Steve Martin in the main role. Unfortunately, the latest film is more akin to the dismal "Curse of the Pink Panther" made in 1983 with Roger Moore playing Clouseau than to the Sellers classics.

Martin, who scripted as well as starred in the latest "Panther" comedy, returns to his slapstick roots (think "The Jerk") as the English-mangling French detective who inadvertently solves the murder of a famous soccer coach (Jason Statham). Fans of the "Panther" movies will not be disappointed to find that the Pink Panther diamond is an integral part of the plot, hearkening back to the original 1963 comedy of the same name. The problem with director Shawn Levy’s version is that Clouseau's bumbling pratfalls wear thin quickly, despite the film's short (93 minutes) running time. The uninspired plot drags at every moment when Clouseau is not falling down staircases or breaking something expensive, despite the best efforts of a talented cast.

Clive Owen as Agent 006 in a funny James Bond parody is one of the film’s highlights, as is Emily Mortimer's delightful portrayal of Nicole, Clouseau's bespectacled, Audrey-Hepburn-as-a-klutz assistant. Gorgeous Beyoncé Knowles lights up the screen in her few scenes as an international singing superstar—not exactly a stretch for the Destiny's Child lead singer—but her role is nothing but window dressing, and an obvious attempt to draw in a younger audience.

While “The Pink Panther” isn’t a terrible movie, it is probably best seen at home on DVD so viewers can fast-forward through the boring bits and enjoy the slapstick laughs.



P021006
(Updated 01/21/08 NJ)

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