Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Friday, February 24, 2006
Pink Panther no longer blue
Copley News Service
February 21, 2006 Tuesday 11:53 AM EST
Families into 'Pink'
America's No. 1 movie just before Valentine's Day was "The Pink Panther," with zany physical-comedy master Steve Martin in the Inspector Clouseau role made famous in the 1960s and 1970s by zany physical-comedy master Peter Sellers. The film is a clever, laugh-a-minute success. Which makes a Los Angeles Times story about how nearly the new "Panther" movie did miss all the more instructive. The story said "Panther" was all finished a year ago. Then Sony Pictures movie chief Amy Pascal decided that Martin's Clouseau was too blue for the film to work.
That is, this Clouseau was a dirty-minded lech - like too many foul-mouthed, toilet-fixated "stars" of what now passes for comedy.
Simply duplicating Sellers' Clouseau, who romped with good minded cluelessness through five films, would have been pointless, of course. But Pascal saw that the film could be reshaped as a fun family flick drawing on the best aspects of Martin's talents.
Hollywood's disdain for a thoughtful approach to film comedy has deprived two generations of the clever writing and physical comedy practiced by the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett.
So Pascal sent the word: This movie isn't working. Clean it up so it can get a PG rating. And get Martin doing what he does best.
The result was an impressive financial payoff.
There are more than enough "mature" movies out there. Bravo to Pascal for remembering that their fans aren't the entirety of the movie-going public.