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Pink Panther [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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If anyone could step into the huge shoes of comedic genius left by Peter Sellers as bumbling French policeman Jacques Clouseau, it's Steve Martin. Sellers made Clouseau a true icon of character and comedy in five Pink Panther movies in the '60s and '70s; Martin has arguably already attained Sellers' rank as an entertainment talent, so it only makes sense that he became Clouseau's heir apparent for the inevitable screen resurrection. This updated story of the priceless eponymous diamond purloined under mysterious circumstance and pursued with Keystone Cop-like antics by Clouseau is a frivolous yet winning pastiche of physical gags and riffs on Clouseau's hilariously impenetrable accent. A famous French football coach (Jason Statham in cameo mode) is wearing the stone, set as an engagement ring for his pop star fiance (Beyonce Knowles). But before a packed stadium crowd of thousands, the ring disappears from his finger as he falls dead from a poisoned dart. The wisp of a plot is secondary to the pratfalls of Martin's prim, prissy, and utterly inept Clouseau. He's brought onto the case by France's top cop (a drolly sophisticated Kevin Kline) who wants Clouseau to fail in a scheme to make himself a national hero. Even in a world where jokes about Viagra, flatulence and other familiar sophomoric subjects are required, Martin makes his Clouseau singularly memorable. You'll be fully expecting Clouseau to shatter priceless antiques, mangle his pronunciations (hamburger, anyone?), and prevail in the end, but Martin carries it off, giving homage to Sellers at the same time that he remakes the character in his own image as a comic master. --Ted Fry --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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