I recently reviewed a pair of French comedies, complaining about the lack of good American comedies lately. These two films here are exactly what I'm talking about. I won't even bother to separate them as they both have all the same problems. In the completely unnecessary remake of The Pink Panther, Steve Martin puts on a ridiculous French accent to play the role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Originally made famous and a thousand times funnier, by the comedy-genius Peter Sellers. You can practically smell the desperation in the filmmakers attempts to make us laugh. Steve Martin, who himself once was an incredibly funny man, making stupid comedy seem brilliant, in films like The Jerk. Seems lost in how to make a joke work as Clouseau. He simply pumps everything up to 11; the stupidity of his character is so far out there, it's no longer funny.
I felt the exact same way about Robin Williams in License to Wed. This often intensely hilarious actor, seems out of his depth. I didn't find myself laughing once at his portrayal as Reverend Frank. His nonsensical ideas on how to bring Mandy Moore and John Krasinski together as a couple, didn't once seem genuine. There has to be at least a certain sense of reality, when trying to make us laugh. Krasinski, who I find very funny and charismatic on the great show The Office, seems demeaned to be playing this guy set to be married to the ultra-bland Moore. He does the cliche' romantic-comedy thing, of constantly lying to his partner, performing ridiculous often illegal acts, getting himself deeper into trouble, when a moment of truth would resolve everything.
Poor Kevin Kline and Jean Reno, both great performers in their own rights, couldn't have been more obvious in their lackadaisical approaches to their characters. They both seemed embarrassed to be part of the mess that is The Pink Pather. Emily Mortimer, who plays Clouseau's love interest, is the only one that had any realistic attachment to her character, but she's in the film so briefly that she can't help. Beyonce, once again does her, "look Mom, I'm acting!", thing that I can't stand. The only performances with any life to be found in License to Wed, were done by some of the bit roles. I like young Josh Flitter as the Reverend's aid, he brings some life to his character, and out funnies Williams. Brian Baumgartner, Kevin from The Office, is maniacally over-the-top as another finance going through Reverend Frank's trials, but he at least seems to be trying to get some laughs.
The filmmakers behind these two extremely lame attempts at comedic filmmaking should be embarrassed by these movies. They are sloppily put together, with no real sense of zest, horribly acted by reliable performers, and worse beyond anything, not funny. I think between these two films, I had three slight chuckles, but countless groans at the pathetic attempts at humor. Not once was I drawn into the film or made to care about anyone in the least, I remained a distant viewer throughout each. The only worthwhile moment in either film is the opening credits animation in The Pink Panther, because it reminded me of the better versions of the film. - Grade: C- (Seen on 6/4/08) License to Wed plain sucked throughout. - Grade: D- (Seen on 6/15/08)