The Pink Panther (2006)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Farce, Caper, Slapstick  |   Release Date - Feb 10, 2006 (USA)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

Steve Martin adapts one of comedy's most beloved characters of the big screen, Inspector Clouseau, with 2006's The Pink Panther, a mildly amusing revamp whose genuinely funny moments are few and far between the madcap setups that populate most of the film. It's not as if the comedian doesn't try; his Clouseau is filled with hilarious subtlety when the film isn't forcing him into a predictably unfunny scenario -- which it often does. That said, for all of the uninspired laughs that fall flat, there are moments of sheer brilliance that shine through, such as the part with the dialect coach where Martin takes a classic comic premise and turns it into the drop-dead-funny highlight of the film. The scene hearkens back to the old Peter Sellers days when the chuckles were earned by milking the comedy for all it's worth and then pushing it even further after the fact. And while this Clouseau is surrounded by accomplished thesps, none of them provide the right foil to his character for added comedic value. Kevin Kline would have made a fine Clouseau in his own right, but his Dreyfus never gets to the crazy, agitated state that exemplified Herbert Lom's brilliant performances. With this film, Martin proves that he's up to the challenge of the role and possibly with better scripts, actually has the chance to create a lasting franchise that is both family-friendly and classic in its approach to fine slapstick humor -- until then, this film remains a flawed, yet commercially successful kick-start to the reinterpreted series.