The reviews of this latest attempt at reviving The Pink Panther franchise have not been kind. And I must admit that I had not been too eager to see Steve Martin take on the character so brilliantly portrayed five times by Peter Sellers. I love the character Sellers created in 1963’s The Pink Panther and its subsequent sequels. Sellers, who died in 1980, has few comic equals. One might argue Martin is one of them.
But he’s no Clouseau.
Yet I saw new The Pink Panther movie anyway.
There were a couple of things that gave me pause before going in to this movie:
The film was originally supposed to have been released last year. Typically these delays indicate a film performed poorly before test audiences and scenes needed to be re-edited or re-shot.
The post-Sellers Panther films have been terrible. This is the fourth.
My friend Mike and I promised one another we would not see this movie, yet through a bizarre series of unconnected events, each of us saw the film, unplanned, the same night at the same time, but not together. The following day Mike called to warn me not to see it. I was about to call him for the same reason.
Despite my disappointment with the film, I will give Martin two things:
One, he did have a few deliciously funny moments between long stretches of unfunny-business.
And two: while Martin is no Sellers, he did a better job playing Inspector Clouseau that either Alan Arkin or Roger Moore. (Yes, Arkin and Moore both played the inspector in really bad movies. If you don’t believe me, look it up. Arkin starred in 1968’s abysmal Inspector Clouseau, and Roger Moore played the part of Clouseau in the 1982 film The Curse of the Pink Panther.)