The Pink Panther

I love Pink Panther, so much so I bought the 4 DVD Pink Panther cartoons box set. I grew up watching Pink Panther, and I would hum the trademark Pink Panther to make my baby sister sleep. So, it was with much excitement that I got to see The Pink Panther (2006) last night at the movie theatre. In one sentence: Pink Panther fulfilled my somewhat low expectations, but somehow fell short of what could have been a genuinely funny movie, possibly overshadowing the original version.

See the problem lies in where you expectations are. You raise your expectations and you leave the movie disappointed. You go in with low expectations, and you leave the movie happy. The problem with this movie is that you really enjoy the movie, that you wished they had put in the extra effort and elevate the movie to the level it really should be on.

The movie is more about Steve Martin’s acting rather than the thin story line. Martin tackles the role of the bumbling “village idiot” Inspector Clouseau. He nails the French accent extremely well, you actually enjoy watching him be a Frenchman. His partner Ponton, played by French actor Jean Reno, is underused here. Kevin Kline is also wasted here as the head of investigations department in Paris. Beyonce Knowles is also underused and it seems like as if they roped her in to raise the profile of the movie. *Spoiler alert* Clive Owen makes a short appearance as Double Agent 006, which actually is one the highlights of the movie.

The plot revolves around the mysterious killing of Guyant, the French football team manager, and the disappearance of the massive Pink Panther diamond from his finger. Suspects abound everywhere, from his fiancée Xania (Beyonce), to Bizu, the football player, to Yuri, the “trainer who trains.” In comes Inspector Clouseau to handle the case and grabs the media attention. In the meantime, Kevin Kline, heads the actual investigation, believing the killer would be diverted by Inspector Clouseau’s investigation.

No prizes to anyone who knows what happens at the end. There are some funny set pieces, with a lot of slapstick physical comedy. Martin makes most of the French accent, which at times gets somewhat repetitious. You just wish the rest of the movie were as funny as Steve Martin is.

And, oh yes, the famous Pink Panther tune is played to much amusement in the credits. Who in this world doesn’t know that tune?

3 out 5 for me. I am going to stick watching the cartoons!

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