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 film pushes the limits of PG. It includes several sexual situations and allusions, including a reference to Viagra. There is some crude language and potty humor. The movie features frequent slapstick violence: various objects (balls, lamps, a badge, cars) slam into torsos, crotches, and faces, causing bruises (at least); a couple of explosions and two murders occur (one a needle to the neck, another by gunfire, off-screen); a secret agent spoof involves the violent defeat of several black-masked figures in a casino, etc. Clouseau mispronounces English words ("bowls" become "balls"). Characters drink liquor, in particular, a flaming drink.
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What's the story?
When a celebrated soccer coach (Jason Statham) is killed, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline) assigns the sensational murder investigation to bungling Clouseau (Steve Martin), in hopes that he will fail and leave the way open for the Chief Inspector to complete the investigation and thus win a French Medal of Honor. As usual, Clouseau finds odd ways to baffle both the villains and the devious Dreyfus. Clouseau's manic clumsiness and misplaced confidence take their primary tolls on an assortment of supporting characters, especially Dreyfus (much abused), Clouseau's loyal and adorable secretary Nicole (Emily Mortimer), and his driver Ponton (Jean Reno). Clouseau becomes fixated on the dead coach's girlfriend, an "international pop star" named Xania. (Beyoncé). His infatuation involves ogling her body and following her to New York City, where his silly accent puzzles most everyone he meets, including a security guard at the airport, who mistakes him for a terrorist (craziness erupts).
Is it any good?
This remake of THE PINK PANTHER is aptly colorful, though mostly lackluster. While Inspector Clouseau's faux French accent is occasionally funny in a way that recalls Peter Sellers' original incarnation, the character more often seems derived from Chaplin, with his puffy-squinchy face and pencily mustache. He also seems tired -- kind of like this mediocre movie with an uninspired script.
For all its focus on Clouseau's goofy mannerisms (he's annoying and snobbish but also ridiculous, a vehicle to make fun of "zee Fwench"), the film just bumps along, a series of physical comedy bits and clobberings punctuated by Martin's language mangling. Clive Owen makes a brief appearance in order to send up his lost shot at the James Bond franchise (here he plays 006, whom Clouseau calls "one short of zee beeg time"). And Jean Reno, bless him, gets the prize for infinite patience, as he sustains a certain serenity amid the frenzy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Inspector Clouseau's comic ability to solve cases even though he seems dumb: How does the film make fun of "straight" detective movies with this character? Why does Clouseau inspire such jealousy and rage in his superior officer? They can also talk about slapstick humor and when it is funny or appropriate.
Themes & Topics
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