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)