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Son of the Pink Panther

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Outside of the James Bond films, it’s hard to think of a series as passé as Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther comedies: What started as an effervescent mix of swank and slapstick now tastes of spoiled champagne. Son of the Pink Panther isn’t an unwatchable mess like 1982’s Curse of the Pink Panther; it trots along quickly with series veterans like Herbert Lom adding needed class. But there’s a void at the center of this film about Inspector Clouseau’s long-lost son, and its name is Roberto Benigni. Where Peter Sellers’ Clouseau had a blissfully out-of-it officiousness, the Italian comedian’s sole shtick is to beam idiotically. He’s that ruinous oxymoron: an unsurprising clown. D+

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