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(Review originally written at 3 May 2008)

No this movie is not as good as the earliest Pink Panter movies and no, Roberto Benigni ain't no Peter Sellers but fair is fair, this is an entertaining and fun enough comedy, that showed some potential for a new fresh start of the Pink Panther series.

Everything in this movie indicated that they intended this movie as a new and fresh start of the Pink Panther series. The movie was more of its time and modern and looked more like a James Bond movie done comedy style than an old fashioned made slapstick, like all of the other previous Pink Panther movies were done in.

Too bad that people never really gave this movie a fair change. People just thought that the Pink Panther series should had stopped with the death of Peter Sellers in 1980 and director Blake Edwards should had never went on making more Pink Panther movies, as he did. This was the third Pink Panther movie without Peter Sellers, so people were already mostly fed up with it and after the previous too disappointing Pink Panther entries, the expectations for this movie naturally weren't really high. But I for one however wouldn't had mind seeing more Pink Panther movies with the son of Clouseau in it.

No, I never really have been a Roberto Benigni fan, since he mostly only plays naive, smiling, jumping and screaming comical characters but he simply was well cast in this movie and did a good job with his role. I think it was a good move that they didn't let hem try to impersonate Peter Seller's performance as the famous 'brilliant' inspector but instead letting him be a total different character with Benigni his own interpretation.

Nevertheless it's not a movie that totally abandons the style or spirit of the previous Pink Panther movies. It still let some old character re-appear in this movie such as Police Commissioner Charles Dreyfus (finally he got his promotion), Professor Auguste Balls, Cato and Sergeant Francois Duval. It however also becomes painfully obviously that by now the actors who are portraying the characters got terribly old and it became time for some fresh blood. As much as I loved Herbert Lom in all of the previous Pink Panther movies as Dreyfus, he really was too old for his role in this movie to be still believable and good in it. Same goes for Burt Kwouk as Cato, who at the time of this movie already was well in his 60's.

The fact that this is a more comical approach of James Bond also means that there is some more story present this time, with a real villain and a love interested, action, shooting as well as most other typical genre clich├ęs. The feeling that this is a more comical version of James Bond is being strengthened by the presence of Robert Davi, who previously played the main villain in the James Bond movie "Licence to Kill". Basically he plays the same role as he always does; a ruthless criminal boss who always is looking for more power and money. But if you're so great at playing these sort of roles, why wouldn't you take it? A only complaint could be that he doesn't play his role comically enough. He is serious as always, though I'm not to sure if this was what the film-makers originally had in mind. The different approach of the entire movie might also be a reason why some people have difficulties accepting this as a Pink Panther movie but I in fact think that all of the Pink Panther movies are somewhat- and always wanted to be like James Bond movies, only done in a complete different comical style.

Director Blake Edwards with this movie shows that old fashioned slapstick can still be incorporated properly into 'modern' movies, if done and handled correctly. Blake Edwards with this movie shows that he still had it in him, which also makes it sort of a shame that his career pretty much died right after this movie.

Give this movie a fair change and you might end up liking it for what it is.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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