Mystery Eludes 'Panther'

Mystery Eludes 'Panther'

Movie Review

The creators of the new version of "The Pink Panther" forgot what made the early Pink Panther films so great. They forgot that funny parts don't always make a great whole and they forgot a respectable mystery.

While "The Pink Panther," with Steve Martin in the shoes of Peter Sellers' Inspector Jacques Clouseau is touted as a prequel to Sellers' 1964 original, it is more a re-imagining of the first two Clouseau films, "The Pink Panther" and "A Shot in the Dark," both by far Sellers' best. While many of the slapstick parts are downright hilarious they never gel to make a cohesive film.

The beauty of the first two Clouseau films was that Sellers' slapstick was completely out of place in a serious mystery, as if a character from a Three Stooges movie had slipped into a mystery film. The later Sellers' films followed a more over-the-top slapstick style and suffered for it.

The new Panther suffers the same fault. Martin is hilarious as the bumbling inspector trying to find the famed Pink Panther diamond and the killer of a famous soccer coach but he is perfectly in place in the film's world; the key to the original's hilarity is gone.The mystery — which includes a throw-away role for Beyonce Knowles — neither advances or retreats thanks to Clouseau's bumblings as it would in Sellers' films. Great comedy comes with a great story and Panther's story was simply forgotten.

<1b>— Matthew Razak