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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Pink Panther(2006) : A Diamond in the Rough

Director : Shawn Levy
Screenplay : Len Blum, and Steve Martin
Cast :  Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer Henry Czerny, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, Jason Statham (The Dead guy)
Run Time : 93 min

If you haven't watched this movie yet, I am not going to hurl obscenities at you.    I do request, however, that you close this tab, find the movie and watch it before you even consider going over the next few lines.

Classics are, by definition, fantastic, and you could hardly find a better example of this than Peter Seller's classic, "The Pink Panther". Don't panic if you haven't watched it. Most people haven't; they've seen only some snippets and that's okay. The humor is from a different period and you need to be in the right mindset to enjoy it. History tells us that remakes of classics are doomed to fail. Why? Is it because they are so good that you simply cannot compete? Or is it just that we have formed such an impeccable image of the movie in our mind that we are unable to accept that the remake can be anything but miserable. I am of the opinion that the truth is the latter. The "New" Pink Panther has fallen prey to this very idea. If it weren't to be the remake of such a fantastic movie, it would have been considered a comic masterpiece. But alas, such a movie ends up with a lowly rating of 5.3.

Stop browbeating her! Can't you see she is sexy?
The movie opens up with the high profile murder of a Football Coach Yves Gluant (Jason Statham) and the mysterious theft of one of the the world's largest pink diamonds, "The Pink Panther". Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Kevin Kline) looks at this as an opportunity to make his mark as a great detective and assigns the case to the Village Dunce, Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin), a man who has supreme confidence in his own abilities but lacks somewhat of a finesse in his execution. Dreyfus needed someone to distract the world press while he and his team pursued the "real" perpetrator. To keep an eye on Clouseau he assigns Detective Gilbert Ponton (Jean Reno) as his partner. Clouseau graciously takes him under his wing as "a simple farm boy who has come to Clouseau to learn". Xania (BeyoncĂ© Knowles) who was the victim's girlfriend is now a suspect but chivalrous that he is, Clouseau refuses to interrogate her in the conventional sense. He instead uses his legendary powers of seduction to poomp her for imformasion. 

He is not 'pushing up the daisies,' he is DEAD !
Armed with the miracle pill for middle aged men, their "date" still ends up as a hot mess. Clouseau continues training his partner with surprise attacks in order to keep his senses sharp. But as it turns out, the farmboy's senses are a little too sharp for him. Nevertheless, as time passes Ponton's respect for the heavily accented frenchman only grows. The investigation continues, failing miserably but with style. Clouseau pulls out every trick in the book, including his own variant of the "Good Cop - Bad Cop routine" where he plays both sides. His investigation leads them to the United States of America where he finds bliss in the disgusting american food, The Hambuuger, no wait.. aambaaga, I mean dambuger. While returning to France though, Clouseau's new found affliction gets him arrested as he tries to smuggle a few burgers through customs. When he returns, he is proclaimed a National Embarrassment and stripped off his rank. He returns to his home, to his old friend "Ze Inzernet" to download some ringtones, when he notices something in a picture of himself at the airport. He immediately calls his sidekick to infiltrate the Presidential Palace and solve the case! Chief Inspector Dreyfus makes his move and arrests the wrong person, while Clouseau arrives just in time to prevent the 3rd murder and apprehends the true murderer, instantly becoming a National Hero.
Steve Martin has outdone himself in this remake with his supreme comic timing and Jean Reno rarely fails to deliver. With such a splendid cast and sublime execution, it is hard to imagine why the movie received such bad reviews. Perhaps it is the curse of the remake or perhaps I am wrong. But one thing is for sure, the movie will leave you grinning be it the first time you watch it or the hundredth. And if Clouseau was right about the gentle healing power of laughter, then I believe we have found here the cure for cancer!

Because Justice is Justice and France is France !

1 comment:

  1. Pretty accurate review :D Well-written. :D

    Should come with a warning - don't watch Pink Panther 2. :P