Steve Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau
Kevin Kline as Chief Inspector Dreyfus
Beyoncé Knowles as Xania
Jean Reno as Gendarme Gilbert Ponton
Emily Mortimer as Nicole
Henry Czerny as Yuri
Jason Statham as Yves Gluant
Kristin Chenoweth as Cherie
As a remake of the Blake Edwards’ original “Pink Panther” films starring Peter Sellers, it seems inevitable to compare the two. Naturally then I won’t ever be mentioning the original in this review. What I will mention is that this version of “The Pink Panther” could almost be funny… but isn’t. Martin plays Clouseau as the typical wise-fool – bumbling, but unaware of it, and thus capable of seeing some things others might miss, which allows for some obvious setups that seem like they could be funny but generally aren’t. To top it off, every time it’s even remotely close to being funny the filmmakers seem compelled to add a bumbling capper that isn’t needed and doesn’t add anything to the film. It’s too much – strange for a film that has so little in it to begin with.
The best that can be said about it is that Kevin Kline is note perfect as the smarmy, scheming Chief Inspector Dreyfus and his undisguised contempt for Clouseau. As forgettable as everyone else is, Kline is always a joy to watch in the film, particularly when he is being unknowingly tortured by Clouseau. No one else is even close, including Martin himself; the desire to go over the top seems to be too much to ignore.
It seems strange that a “Pink Panther” film could be over the top even slightly, but it is, and not in a good way. A little less bumbling and a little more wit and it might have been a nice diversion. Instead it’s neither.
“The Pink Panther” is rated PG for occasional crude and suggestive humor and language.