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The Pink Panther: Red faced

Red faced

Steve Martin takes a trip to Freedom

Latest schlocky remake is cause for embarrassment

It has become a truism that Hollywood is remaking older, better movies as barely recognizable sad-sack versions of their former glory, and the assumed reason for this rewarmed treason on classics from the golden age of comedy is a lack of new ideas. But after watching the latest travesty, courtesy of Steve Martin and Kevin Kline, I had another conspiracy theory: Is it not possible that this latest spate of mediocrity is actually a plot by the DVD industry to send us reeling into the classics section of our local Blockbuster with as much teeming desperation as lemmings throwing themselves off the nearest cliff?

The above is the only possible explanation I see for why someone could possibly think that it was a good idea to remake The Pink Panther. I mean, really. It isn’t bad enough that Steve Martin’s vanity projects have progressed from the sexually discomfiting (Claire Danes offering him her ass in last year’s Shopgirl) to the wholeheartedly nauseating.

Martin’s attempt to do something with Inspector Clouseau that could in some way index Peter Sellers’ enduring character is just sad, and somehow the pencil-moustachioed send-up of our Gallic cousins that made my parents’ generation choke with good-natured laughter here just seems like a xenophobic cash grab to go along with your order of freedom fries. Add to that the fact that the whole undertaking, or at least the ad campaign for it, is basically a vehicle to market Beyoncé Knowles’ most recent B-grade single/cellphone ring tone. Suffice it to say that, people, what you are looking for is available for rental in retro-hip VHS or as a reissue on DVD under "Blake Edwards" in the Réalisateurs Anglo-Saxons of La Boîte Noire. That is all.

The Pink Panther

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Pink Panther (The)

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  • by Heath Abram - February 9, 2006, 3:04 pm

    I think that if anybody can replace Peter Sellers in the role of Clousseau, it’s Steve Martin. He has great comedic timing and has been a favourite of mine since his early days in film and on television. The review above does not sound too promising, but I will go see it anyways and judge for myself.

  • by Melissa Yu - February 9, 2006, 3:55 pm

    After seeing the previews for this movie on the television, I have completely lost interest in watching this movie. I don’t find there is any appeal and the cartoon version just seems so much more interesting. Not only that, but I believe the other reason that I personally don’t feel like watching this movie is due to the fact that it is featuring Beyonce.

  • by Eric Bertrand - February 9, 2006, 6:15 pm

    I look at the trailers on TV and I can’t see one good reason why I should see this movie. There’s no Kato, for one, and there’s logic to this mess. The casting is all over the place and none of the clips looks funny. They could have at least gotten someone who looks like Peter Sellers or gotten Roberto Benigni back because Sellers made the old movies. Steve Martin is just cashing a paycheck here.

  • by Pedro Eggers - February 9, 2006, 7:42 pm

    I think it’s safe to say that Peter Sellers is rolling over in his grave right about now and Blake Edwards is probably wishing he could join him. The 2006 version of “The Pink Panther” with Steve Martin is nothing more than an unfunny perversion of a much beloved film franchise. Even when the franchise was at its worst, the post-Peter Sellers installments, it wasn’t nearly as hollow, asinine and transparent as this cheap attempt to make a few bucks on our collective nostalgia and love for the old movies. No, there was no way in hell that this remake/prequel was ever going to recapture that old pink thunder but one could have at least been inclined to show it some mercy if it had at least been, oh, I don’t know…funny!
    Why did they even bother to release it? We all suspected that it would suck beyond the telling when they held the movie back for 2 friggin’ years so really, who were they kidding? Studios routinely bury unscreened projects in their vaults when they realize that the project is just not up to snuff but somehow this one made the grade to see the light of day? If this abomination to comedy remakes doesn’t make you run out and buy “The Pink Panther” DVD collection it’s because you’re still in shock and need a moment to process this mess. Every possible studio failure is rattled off here for all to behold. Casting? Dysfuntional and dubious at best. Performances? The less said the better. The script and dialogue? A joke and a very unfunny one at that. The direction? What, there was a director present on the set during this intellectual rape? First anyone is hearing about this. Nope, this was just a big mess.
    Probably the first time in film history that a piece of crap was actually pink.

  • by Melissa Killborn - February 10, 2006, 4:39 pm

    I can’t wait to see this movie this weekend! So far the reviews are fantastic, and it’s the first movie I’ve seen in a long time that has an audience rating of 10/10. And it’s with Steve Martin! It’s rare nowadays to see him miss. His expertise is comedy, so let’s go laugh our heads off.

  • by Vladimir Joseph - February 10, 2006, 8:28 pm

    Dude, if this lame remake with the recast from hell makes any money I’ll be shocked. Screw shocked. I’ll be in a coma. Steve Martin has done cool stuff in the past but this is about the worst thing he’s ever done. It’s only February and al;ready we have the worst movie of the year.

  • by Bryan Murray - February 11, 2006, 12:09 pm

    These remakes are just a waste of money for the stidio’s because they cost ever so much more than the original , and tend to bring in so much less in today’s dollars. Why ruin the memories we have of the good old movies with the rushed new ones. Shame again Hollywood.

  • by Hieu Ly - February 11, 2006, 12:16 pm

    I would be not very open minded with a remake of The Tramp starring Robert Downey Jr walking in Chaplin’s shoes in 2006′s America.
    Inspecteur Clouseau is the artistic property of Peter Seller like the tramp is to Chaplin, unlike James Bond, Batman or even Hannibal Lecter…

  • by Eli Barthelemy - February 11, 2006, 6:37 pm

    Just when you thought that Hollywood had found all of the ways to waste money, they surprize you.
    Why does Hollywood persist in remakes. The Pink Panther in it’s day did very well, but that was then and this is now! Regardless of how funny many find Steve Martin, it is not funny to perpetuate cultural stereotypes. Comedy in the twenty first century, one would expect, to have evolved beyond the Pink Panther.
    Aren’t there enough unemployed screenwriters? Please do us a favor, Hire Them!!!

  • by Mary Libby Talevi - February 12, 2006, 9:53 am

    It was an acutely painful experience watching two of my favorite actors,Steve Martin and Kevin Kline, in The Pink Panther, a remake that featured the brillant Peter Sellers.Both Kline and Martin are great comedians.Who can forget Kline’s outstanding performance in A Fish Called Wanda?He was simply magnificent and funny.Martin,both as an actor and a writer,has been very entertaining and hilarious.So why we may ask ourselves are these two very talented actors humiliating themselves in this flop? I would tend to agree with
    Melora Koepke’s theory that this is a way to get people to the video stores and search for the real classics.

  • by Maria Cecillia Silva - February 12, 2006, 12:37 pm

    Steve Martin never fails to make us laugh. I have seen all his movies and I have to say I enjoyed all of them . I am looking forward very much to see this movie. I say the trailer and I think this is a funny movie. For all those who think this is a waste of time , then don’t go to the premiere and don’t take up the seat of those who would like to enjoy this movie. There are alot of us who will go and see this movie and have a great time watching Steve Martin do what he does best and that is make people laugh.

  • by Ruxandra Niculescu - February 12, 2006, 2:31 pm

    Although most people keep telling us how cheap and bad remakes are, I, personally, would have no problem going to see the new Pink Panther. I was a great fan of the show as a kid, and also a big fan of Steve Martin. Sure, his glory days were in the 90s, but still, a light-hearted comedy never did anyone any wrong. It’s a great family movie, and if you have a smaller sibling, they’re surely gonna love it! Taking a look around the theater, most, if not all people came out carrying a big smile on their faces. And, trust me, so will you if you give this movie a chance.

  • by Carol Wilson - February 13, 2006, 10:47 am

    I am one of the biggest fan of the original Pink Panther movies and a great fan of Peter Sellers and no one can replace him. Steve Martin was not that bad in this remake,but it was in no way comparable to the original. The slapstick comedy scenes were predictable and Steve Martin as Clouseau was ,in many scenes, hilarious and it was fun entertainement. Do wait for video rental.

  • by Louise Lacroix - February 13, 2006, 12:34 pm

    I have been a great fan of all the Pink Panther movies by Peter Sellers and find it difficult to give a chance to someone else playing his part. I am not saying that Steve Martin is a bad actor, I am saying I dont know if I will be able to relate to him on that level. There is a part of me that wants to go and see if to see if I will be entertained and the other part is telling me that I will be disappointed. All weekend Pink Panthers movies have been on tv and they have made me laugh so much that I am not sure remake can do it. But I am going to give it the benifit of the doubt and go and see it and who knows my mind might be changed about remakes.

  • by Rachelle Doucet - February 14, 2006, 6:32 pm

    For anyone who thinks this movie has something to do with that animated TV show you watched as a kid (R.N.), this movie is based on the series of movies made in the ’60 starring Peter Sellers as the hilarious Inspecteur Jacques Cousteau, who must find a ring called the pink panther which has been stolen by the Phantom and return it the the beautiful Princess Dala. I think Beyonce is totally wrong for the part of the princess, she’s really not princess material because she’s totally unclassy plus she’s supposed to be from Asia, duh! They shoulda cast Lucy Liu or Mia Maestro or something. I guess Steve Martin is a ok choice for the inspector because he’s pretty funny, but based on the ads, his french accent sucks.

  • by James Brooks - February 15, 2006, 5:59 am

    Since I have not seen Steve Martin’s version of “The Pink Panther” (and probably won’t), I will at least be fair and not comment at this time.
    However, I would like to comment on the continuation of this disturbing trend of remakes that have assaulted the senses of all true fans of cinema.
    Mind you, there is nothing wrong with remakes as a rule.
    Every generation needs to express themselves, and there have been many examples of well-done remakes.
    However, what we are seeing now is something that we have known for some time, but did not want to admit to ourselves.
    While Hollywood has always been a business, it is more obvious now than ever before.
    It isn’t just the usual (conglomerates, the end of the studio system, the new generation of filmmakers).
    Now, they are telling us that they really have nothing new to offer the film-going public, and hope to snare us into the theater with whatever they think they can gat away with, as long as it is familiar and sells.
    Therefore, the remake.
    Quality doesn’t count, box office does and how marketable the star.
    Even Spielberg has fallen into the trap with “War of the Worlds” !!!
    It’s official people, the suits have won !!!!
    The problem is, can this go on ??
    They will hype a CGI loaded movie to insure a successfull first weekend of release at least, more millions then poured into the next ‘epic’ in hopes of a ‘franchise’, and then what ??
    Hollywood as a theme park ??
    Well, there may be some hope thanks to the independent film.
    Last year, movies like “Sideways” walked off with some major awards; and this year the talk is how many Oscars for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Godd Night and Good Luck”.
    While these films lack the audience, like books they are very entertaiining to a core base of fans that want to be challenged intellectually, and they have money to spend.
    Since money talks, maybe the suits will listen and get the message soon !!!
    And we’ll see good movies again !

  • by Angelo Vernucci - February 15, 2006, 4:35 pm

    I can’t believe people got suckered into spending 20+ million over the opening weekend of this lame ass duck. It simply does not spell funny. What it does do, in fact, is stereotype the already slanted view people, namely Americans (morons), have about the french. If all french people looked and sounded like Martin doing a bad french accent, I’d frolick around St. Catherine street giving out berets and croissants too.
    Martin is critically unfunny here folks. He decided that this was his pet project, to ruin the Pink Panther legacy Peter Sellers conjured up. I mean, his accent and schtick was entirely his own! Don’t imitate someone who’s imitating a culture. It comes across as weak and fundamentally laughless.
    Couldn’t he have stuck with making a movie about those wild and crazy guys! Oh yeah, Aykroyd was busy with some infomercial, I guess.

  • by Michael D'Ornellas - February 15, 2006, 6:36 pm

    I can’t even remember that day, its been so long. That horrible day when the t.v network did something I never forgot. The day they took my favorite cartoon off the air and ended my laughter because they decided to prod cast “something better.” The day the Pink Panther cartoon, starring the well know “pink panther”(the original cartoon character), was taken off the air and hardly ever shown again. All that people had to remember him by was the name and a few movies that were made staring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. That is, until now. The brand new and improved Pink Panther staring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau and his personality as the comic relief has arrived! The truth is, that if his personality were indeed the comic relief, by the end of the movie you’d be on the floor dead because of over laughter.
    Martin’s performance was absolutely astounding and you can definitely say, with confidence, that he nailed the role of Clouseau right on the dot. The stupidities after stupidities that this guy pulls are enough to give someone a heart attack. Actually, the word stupidity doesn’t even cut it! This film reaches a completely new level on the comedy scale. At one point Martin’s character asks for “the worlds best translator”, to help improve on his English (his French accent is disgusting). The translator starts him off with the simple phrase “I would like to buy a hamburger.” What comes out of Martin’s mouth however is something like this, ” I wod like to bouy a dam-burgr.” It had to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed. If that isn’t enough, things just as comic as that or even better happen about every minute or two. By the end of the movie your lungs are about to explode from overuse and your body hurts from laughing so much.
    To say the very least, a commendable performance on Steve Martin’s place and a terrific fit for one of the greatest comedy characters of all time.

  • by Alexander Hittel - February 19, 2006, 12:07 pm

    This movie was enormusly funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Even though people say Peter Sellers is better, but on the top 5 Pink Panther movies (though I’ve only seen 3) it would probably go on number 5 because it’s at least a funny return for the Pink Panther to the big screen.

  • by Lewie Miya - February 20, 2006, 4:34 pm

    It’s good that there so many knowledgeable movie-goers as the above comments prove.
    I like Steve Martin. He was great in the Saturday Nite shows and in Bowring. But I can’t understand why he would get involved in a re-make of Pink Panther…a classic by Peter Sellers. He doesn’t need the money, does he?
    There are so many books out there so why can’t the producers select something new and original. There are plenty of excellent authors. No need to dig up old movies, eh.

  • by Andrea Silva - March 2, 2006, 3:42 pm

    I saw this movie with no expectations, just Steeve Martin being funny at his best, and I laughed so much in this one movie then I have in a long time with several comedies that just bombed. I can`t wait to see this one again!! It`s great entertainment for the whole family. Steeve Martin can play the part of Inspector Clouseau for me any time!

  • by Richard Thompson - March 2, 2006, 4:15 pm

    This movie lacked everything in every category. Using a rating scale of 0 to 100 on every facet that a movie can be measured by, this movie is a zero for every category, including acting, speech, sensibility, actions, props, gimmicks, etc. Dumb, Dumb, and Dumb.

    People left the movie early, no one laughed at anything or made any gasps or sounds about anything.

    I will avoid any movie from 20th century Fox in the future. Fortunately, we go to a movie just occasionally, but when we go to get a few laughs and get this bad thing, instead, well, that’s it!

  • by Carmela Sicurella - March 18, 2006, 9:23 am

    Just by watching the trailer I knew that this film was going to be terrible but I still went
    to the theatres to watch the premiere and it is possibly one of the worst films of the year.
    The only reason that I would think that Steve Martin would sign up to make this film was for the money. I bet that the studio executives that released “The Pink Panther” freaked out when they watched the finished product. I just wished that they would have never made this film and just left it as a cartoon. This is possibly the lowest moment in Steve Martin’s career since he made the film “Leap Of Faith.”

  • by Stephen Talko - March 31, 2006, 8:30 am

    Since Clouseau is such a klutz he is not seen as a threat to anyone including his boss Dreyfus who is sure he can nab the killer of the soccer coach before anyone else. Clouseau has a particular dislike for cyclists who get sideswiped by the open door of his Smart car and a humungous globe that rolls down the steps onto the street creating havoc. I got a chuckle of the good cop bad cop routine where he played both roles and applied the electrodes to his own privates to demonstrate their effectiveness. Afterwards in the car you could see smoke coming from his crotch area. Another good scene was where our inspector got all the credit after agent 006 manhandled the gas bandits. Clouseau’s inability to pronounce certain words when interrogated at the New York airport was taken to such an extreme that he was believed to be a real terrorist which brought him disgrace back home. However certain routines were overdone. This included the intruder lurking behind the drapes. Eventually by the time Dreyfus got whacked with the chair it lost its novelty. Also the idea of snipping wires or cables in the floor and causing unexpected disasters was no longer original after the first few times. The Smart car could have played a more decisive role than just fender bending other parked cars. We always like to root for the underdog who succeeds and in this way the movie redeemed itself. We all have a chance in life if only we are not afraid to make mistakes.

  • by Chris Alexis - May 19, 2006, 11:39 am

    I walked in hoping not to have to grief too much for I knew that a movie combination of Steve Martin and remake of a classic comedy would not fuse properly together. I’m sad to say that the movie abandoned me at the parallel parking scene where Martin attempted to park his tiny Smart into a wide space, ending up hitting two other cars (a little over eight times, where the humor has long gotten out of the car and left.) The plot was unbelievably bland and although it wasn’t as predictable as I expected, it wasn’t as if the ending left me in silent awe. Beyoncé Knowles’s personality did not bring anything new to the table and although her beauty was an attentive feature of the film, her character was easily mistaken as some background furniture. The only thing I enjoyed about the film was the acting of Mr. Jean Reno, the French-Spanish actor whom can always make you laugh with his clever characters. What this movie brings me to worry about is the fact that Hollywood is running out of ideas and has to resort to its pool of classics that might be in need of a little revamping. Although some remakes can be better then their parents, this one hardly came close. The old Pink Panther series was young, innocent and humorous. The new Pink Panther, which was directed by Shawn Levy, has the stench of Hollywood all over it. There is no new element to differentiate it from the classics and although some things were a bit humorous, there was nothing new brought to the big screen.

  • by Jon Ziomek - August 3, 2006, 10:30 pm

    The “I would like to buy a hamburger” routine that Steve Martin used in the Pink Panther movie was performed by members of the Second City TV cast on its series more than 20 years ago — word for word. Did the movie acknowledge this in its credits? Talk about remakes … even this Pink Panther remake re-used a comedy bit from another medium.

  • by Reuven De Souza - January 9, 2007, 1:31 pm

    It kills me to have to defend a schlockmaster like Shawn Levy who is responsible for such inhumanities like Just Married and Big Fat Liar, but I really enjoyed this film. Clearly Columbia Pictures has put a lot of work into the final product as the seams are showing of post production filming everywhere, but darn it if I did not laugh as well as enjoy the spin on the charcters by Steve Martin. To compare it to the original is silly as this is an interpretation by a unique comedian, who while clearly has reverence to the source material, takes liberties with his own ideas. It is really one of those film that you ought to see for yourself and then decide. Two digits up.

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