The Pink Panther (2006)

SHAWN LEVY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA/Czech Republic, 2006.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures, Robert Simonds Productions.  Story by , , Screenplay by Len Blum, , based on characters created by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .

As a knockoff tribute to the classic series of films made by Blake Edwards in the 60s and 70s, this sporadically funny comedy does an adequate job; if you’re expecting something worthy of its legacy, however, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  is the bumbling Inspector Clouseau who is put on the trail of a murderer when a famous soccer coach (Jason Statham) is killed during a highly publicized match. Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline, nowhere the perfect hysteria that Herbert Lom brought to the role) puts Clouseau on the case because of his ineptitude, hoping that his own eventual superiority will be proven and make him world famous. Unfortunately, Clouseau’s idiocy is matched only by his supremely good luck, and things start going in the opposite direction from Dreyfus’s original intentions.  has a glorified cameo as the murder victim’s suspicious girlfriend, but it is  who far outshines her as the police secretary with a clumsy sexuality on par with Clouseau’s. The screenplay (co-written by Martin with Len Blume) is a sad mess, but there are pockets of funny moments here and there that will divert you well enough (“Stop browbeating her! Can’t you see she’s sexy?!?”) Look for a cameo by Clive Owen as covert agent 006.

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