Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Shawn Levy, the director, when commenting on Steve Martin’s performance in The Pink Panther said this will be “the culmination of his great career.”

Could he have meant that? I’m not very good at words so I looked it up:
n 1: a final climactic stage; "their achievements stand as a culmination of centuries of development" [syn: apogee] 2: (astronomy) a heavenly body's highest celestial point above an observer's horizon 3: the decisive moment in a novel or play; "the deathbed scene is the climax of the play" [syn: climax] 4: a concluding action [syn: completion, closing, windup, mop up]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

That made me feel good. I found someone worse at words than me.

But the big new is: The Pink Panther finally opened here in Bangkok. All 5 of us went to see it Sunday. There were demonstrations downtown so we went to a theater complex north, towards the airport. All 5 fit into a mini taxi. The trip cost $2 including tip.

We were there for the one o’clock showing. The audience numbered about 80 in a theatre that seated 500. That was the most people at a movie I had attended here. A Thai told me long ago that the people here don’t spend much for recreation. It seems he was right.

After a salute to King and country, the movie began (with Thai sub-titles).

First the bad parts. The pathos interlude was just awful. Pathos might work for some comedies (but rarely), it does not work in a Clouseau movie.

Clouseau was too smart by half or more. It kind of worked here but it tarnishes his image for future movies. Note to movie maker: Think dumb.

The result of this is that these moviemakers broke the Clouseau mold and Clouseau, as we knew him, is finished, done, over. There will never be another true Clouseau movie.

Now for the good parts. It was an excellent movie on its own. I and my whole family enjoyed it. Steve Martin’s accent was excellent. Even my non-English-speaking family, along with the rest of the audience, laughed at his attempts to speak English. (I was concerned about that after his atrocious effort at a New York accent in My Blue Heaven. Even Steven Seagal did a better New York accent in one of his pictures.)

The gags were many and very good. I am not a laugh out loud person but I did so here. I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone by listing the funniest parts. For me, that is a worse spoiler than divulging the ending.

The clue or lead that solved the case was exquisite. It came from a throw-away gag earlier and caught me completely by surprise. To surprise me in a movie plot is nearly impossible, but here they did the impossible. That one alone was worth the price of admission. I still laugh thinking about it.

According to *Rotten Tomatoes* , 4 out of 5 reviewers hated this movie. That delights me. It says more about reviewers than it does about the movie. As I have said before, reviewers are a humorless lot. Most of them should say, “I am a humorless effete, I must recuse myself from reviewing this film.”

Here is an example from this film: Clouseau goes into a booth he has been assured is soundproof to get off a series of farts. Unfortunately the mike is on and his efforts are broadcast into a studio for all to hear. The Thai audience (and I) thought this was hilarious. The effete reviewer would have to pretend to be offended by this “fart humor.”

But it was funny! This bit will be laughed at all over the world, except in pre-release showings for reviewers where the critics would stare at each other in disbelief and bring perfumed hankies from their sleeves to their noses.

I am delighted that this film has taken in more than 80 million dollars in the US. It may mean a new series of Pink Panther movies.

Let me sum up by saying, “More, more, more.”


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