Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Movie Log: The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Cub Scout activities forced the usual Friday Family Movie night to reschedule for Saturday afternoon, and the Hornswoggler menfolk assembled over oven-bake pizza to watch The Pink Panther Strikes Again. (This time, I'll do my best to spell Peter Sellers's name correctly.)

It's a direct sequel to the previous movie, Return of the Pink Panther, and sees Herbert Lom's ex-Chief Inspector Dreyfuss seemingly ending his stay in a mental hospital, completely cured of his obsession with killing Sellers's Clouseau. But then Clouseau arrives, and Dreyfuss is sent into a fit of madness (a hilarious one), and the plot is set in motion. Dreyfuss wants to kill Clouseau, but he does it in a very roundabout manner. (And, confusing my sons slightly, the title diamond never shows up at all -- it makes for a fine, funny movie, but they expected it and wondered why the movie was called "Pink Panther" if the diamond wasn't in it.)

Sellers is more integrated into the main plot this time around, which is nice to see; his comedy bits are just as funny, and they don't seem like interruptions in the "real" plot. There's a particularly good fight with Cato early in Strikes Again, and several other strong Sellers scenes. (The plunge down the stairs and subsequent interrogating-the-servants scene is particularly wonderful.) Lom is also very entertaining, chomping down on the scenery with energy and verve and playing the supervillain role (complete with a castle and a death ray) to a T.

I think, all in all, Strikes Again is funnier than Returns, but it's close. We may end up having to see the modern Steve Martin movies for a true comparison -- though I hope I can avoid that, given my respect for Martin's non-pandering work -- but I think I can say without fear of contradiction that the top Sellers Panthers are at least as funny as the new ones, even for their target audience: TV-addled boys.
Listening to: Kate Tucker & The Sons Of Sweden - On The Radio
via FoxyTunes

No comments:

Post a Comment