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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pink Panther: A tour de force in humor...or something.

I had my doubts about the new Pink Panther movie. Sure, Steve Martin's funny, and he managed to rescue both Cheaper by the Dozens (reccomended, by the way) from certain comedic death at the dainty hands of Hilary Duff, but the Pink Panther? I always say, let classics be classic. So I was afraid.
I watched the DVD menu animation, and wasn't comforted. The pink panther, bouncing around, peering into bubbles. Were they going to ruin the Pink Panther, too, like they did Looney Tunes and Lady and the Tramp? Heaven forbid!
So the movie started. I found myself laughing. Steve Martin was funny. So far, no sight of that strangely colored feline at all. The movie kept going, and the panther kept not being there, and Martin kept being funny. The movie ended, and still no pink kitties, Martin had succeded in continuing his funniness, and the supporting actors even did their part.
I was dumbfounded.
How did they do it? Evidently, Steve Martin, joined with Len Blum, who just emerged from a 9-year hibernation, and managed to write a good script. And Steve Martin was just the guy to not ruin it.
So what was so great? The humor! It was constant and fast. Something funny happened, and the characters didn't sit there waiting for you to laugh before going on. If it wasn't so funny, nothing lost. There was another laugh just around the corner. If nothing else, Martin's accent - just over-the-top enough that it was funny, and not just overdone - was sure to elicit a laugh.
Another thing - the villians weren't stupid. I hate it when they are. The abominable (that's equates to not recommended) Home Alone 4 is a classic example. But the "villians" were intelligent. They had a good case. They seemed to be on the right track. And then Martin blows it all away. MAN! That was AWESOME! For once, the bad guys (antagonists, for you fellow English freaks) were intelligent!
And the humor was subtle at times, just enough to pick up on - such as when the Tour de France riders collided with the giant globe (don't worry, that doesn't give anything away), the faces of the riders behind the main group were subtly hillarious - as if they were saying, "Ugh, not another globe in our way. This is the third time this stage."
All in all, it was a fantastic movie. The cheeziness meter barely budged, the hilarity was constantly pegging it, and as a bonus, language-and-such barely got past empty. It gets a 4 7/8 out of 5. Congrats for a job well done.


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