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THE PINK PANTHER (2006)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 93 minutes, feature audio commentary, 11 deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary, Beyonce music video, Beyonce performance with optional commentary, featurettes, documentary, and alternate opening sequence with optional commentary

STUDIO: MGM/ Columbia/ SPHE

RELEASE DATE: 6-13-2006

THE PINK PANTHER film series is great due to the comedy of Peter Sellers as the bumbling French Inspector Clouseau. Now 40 years after it all begun, Steve Martin has provided his own take on the classic comedic character in this update of THE PINK PANTHER. The film had me worried it might lose me, but the acting and movie won me over. The plot boils down to Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline) needs someone to take the attention off him as he looks for who killed the owner of a football/soccer team (Jason Stanham) and stole The Pink Panther diamond. The guy he chooses is Clouseau (Steve Martin) and makes him an Inspector. He thinks Clouseau is dumb and the worst cop in the French police. He even give a partner, Ponton (Jean Reno) to watch and report on everything Clouseau does. What follows are a series of misadventures as Clouseau and Ponton ask questions and even follow the dead man's girlfriend, pop diva Xania (played by pop star Beyonce Knowles). Can Clouseau solve the case? THE PINK PANTEHR is a charming comedy despite the director making it family friendly (reports have surfaced that an unrated cut that has humor unsuitable for the whole family may make it to DVD later). Of course, the film wouldn't be complete without the signature Pink Panther theme. The physical comedy bits are a delight (including the bathroom getting on fire as Clouseau tries to get a pill dropped down the sink and people mistaking Clouseau having sex with his secretary (Emily Mortimer). I would love to see this film again.

Jean Reno (who has played many cops in French movies including an inspector in THE CRIMSON RIVERS series and a retired crooked cop in EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES) is one of the great actors in this film. he shines when he is given something to do. He can handle drama and comedy if you look at the wide range of films he has done over the years. Kevin Kline is the weak link in the casting of the film as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Even Beyonce and Emily Mortimer do better jobs than Kevin in this film. He's not bad, but he is overshadowed by everybody. By the way, I love the uncredited cameo from Clive Owen playing a James Bond type of secret agent (too bad he won't be playing James Bond).

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Nice transfer. Good image detail. I wish the deleted scenes weren't timecoded and were in Anamorphic Widescreen.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English, French

Dialogue is clear. The music score is the highlight of the 5.1 track.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Plenty of extra on the DVD. The CRACK THE CASE documentary is an overlong mess. You can easily get the highlights by watching a minute here and there. ANIMATED TRIP is a featurette on the animators and the animated title sequence they created (they talk about the original PINK PANTHER title sequences too). DECOUNCTRUCTING THE PANTHER goes behind the scenes of filming the Presidential Palace. The Sleuth Cams look at behind-the-scenes of three scenes in the film.

Despite the disappointing documentary and featurettes, the 11 deleted and extended scenes (with optional audio commentary from director Shawn Levy) are funny. Plenty of gems that didn't quite work in the context of the film include an Arch gag, an airplane trip from hell, and Clouseau hanging from the back of a car. Also you can watch the full musical performance (of "A Woman Like Me") that Beyonce does in the movie (with optional audio commentary by Levy which ends after the first minute). Beyond that, you can also watch an alternate animated titles sequence (again with optional commentary from Levy), a Pink Panther Sweet and Low ad, and a Beyonce music video for Check On It. I shouldn't forget Shawn Levy's insightful audio commentary for the film which reveals some info on at least one deleted scene that didn't make the DVD and that Jean Reno was his only choice for the role of Ponton.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE PINK PANTEHR is a very funny new take on the series and you should check it out. Expect an unrated cut later on.

Related DVD Reviews:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/empire_of_the_wolves.html

http://enterline2.tripod.com/shopgirl.html

this review is (c)6-9-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com