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The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

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April 12, 2024

Why ‘Pink Panther’ is a must-watch movie

Steve Martin in “The Pink Panther” poster. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

It finally feels like fall. Seniors are deep in the trenches of col- lege applications, sophomores are dreading impending essays and 7th graders are getting their first introductions to analytical writ- ing. I have yet to be truly stressed, but it is clear that the grind is beginning again. Thus, I want to remind the UV readers to take a little breather when necessary. So turn on “The Ultimatum” or “Sell- ing Sunset” (my go-to’s during exam weeks!) and revisit a brain- less favorite.

It would be bold to say I adore the low-brow humor of “The Pink Panther” (2006), but I can’t say that it epitomizes that comfort- ing type of film. Let’s get into the number one reason people abso- lutely detest this movie.

The most popular consensus among Letterboxd reviewers and prolific critics, including Roger Egbert himself, is that this mov- ie dampens the franchise. I un- derstand why. There’s very little room to forgive the remake for the questionable French stereotypes (à la “Emily in Paris”), but the original survives somewhat due to its age. The physical comedy of the original furthers the plot by directly benefiting the ever-blun- dering Inspector Clouseau. The jokes are more sophisticated and subtle in the way the Steve Mar- tin remake’s are not. By all means, the critics aren’t wrong.

But its over-the-top, childish failure to execute the simplest of gags (paying suitable homage to the original) is exactly why “The Pink Panther” (2006) is a stealth masterpiece. If you’ve seen one noir, you’ve seen them all. There’s a rea- son why recent Agatha Christie remakes aren’t doing too hot. They’ve simply been done over- done. Whether intentional or not, “The Pink Panther” is a breath of fresh air in a genre so saturated. The story in itself is farcical. It is the tale of an idiot elevated by luck. The script is so outlandish that it inadvertently prevents the movie from collapsing into the same pitfalls as classic noir.

As an audience, we have be- come so in tune with the arche- types and tropes that proliferate the mystery genre that we can guess the identity of the perpe- trator before they even speak. In contrast, the awful script of “The Pink Panther” avoids this by be- ing full of so many tropes that the audience gets too lost in the film’s running gags and offensive French accents to get bored.

“The Pink Panther” is not a good movie — it’s an entertaining one. If you asked me what I genu- inely remember from watching “The Pink Panther,” just a month shy of the AP exams, I couldn’t tell you much. But I can tell you that it’s exactly what a viewer en- tering a bubble of stress needs.

Maybe I wasted an hour and a half of my life that I could have spent channeling into study guides last spring. Perhaps I even wasted more time rewatching it over the weekend in order to crank out this article, but there’s an easy gratification that only a bad film can provide. As it turns out, even something like “The Pink Panther” is never worthless.

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