A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has occasional off-color humor, including the blundering hero's posterior stuck in an inner-tube pool-toy bird, the head of which juts out suggestively between his legs. On another occasion a pretty girl does her best to entice the same character into bed (he resists). There is a glimpse of a nude woman covered in mud at a health spa.
What's the story?
Following up Trail of the Pink Panther, the public is clamoring for Paris police to find Inspector Clouseau, missing while investigating the theft of the Pink Panther diamond. It's decided to use a computer to pick a detective brilliant enough to do the job. The Clouseau-hating Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), to prevent any possibility of Clouseau's return, programs the machine to select the world's worst detective instead of the best. The choice is Clifton Sleigh (Ted Wass), a well-meaning but incompetent New York City police detective, trying to live up to the standards of his cop family. Gangsters who also want Clouseau to stay missing try to assassinate Sleigh, but the American's incredible ineptitude foils them again and again. And, just like Clouseau, Sleigh manages to put Dreyfus in the hospital in a cast. Soon Dreyfus too is scheming to kill Sleigh, just as he previously wanted Clouseau dead.
Is it any good?
It's just not the same without Peter Sellers. After Sellers died in 1980, director Blake Edwards tried to relaunch the hugely-popular "Pink Panther" comedy series, which had starred Sellers as the clumsy Inspector Clouseau. Edwards shot this transitional sequel CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER back-to-back with the hapless farewell to Sellers, Trail of the Pink Panther (completed using outtakes and clips of the late Peter Sellers from older Panther adventures). Wass, a likeable, lightweight type, seems to have been cast as a deliberate echo of the silent-screen era's master of slapstick, Harold Lloyd, right down to the famous glasses. This isn't a bad idea...as long as you're making a Harold Lloyd style comedy, maybe about a tweedy suitor or an accident-prone college kid. As a New York cop, he's just not very convincing, and doesn't have the spark that Sellers brought to Clouseau, the falling-down stuff combined with a snooty ego of a bumbler who truly believed he really was the greatest crime fighter of all time.
Viewers are tipped off early that Clouseau has had plastic surgery and is in hiding (why he's done this is a whole different question, not really answered). When you see Clouseau with the bandages off, he's a certain movie superstar, whom we won't specify because the gag's too good. But even this eminent guest star, broadly mimicking the haughty arrogance and the disastrous pratfalls of Sellers, shows us the mojo that this pleasant, forgettable Clifton Sleigh just doesn't have.
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