Charlie’s gorgeous wife, Lady Johanna (Paltrow) is having a conniption fit over her husband’s new mustache that he’s obsessing over, and refuses to sleep with him until he shaves it off. But there’s no time for marital spats; a priceless Goya painting has been stolen and Inspector Alistair Martland (McGregor), who openly has the hots for Johanna, goes to Charlie for help in retrieving it. Although he’s not a detective per se, we learn in narration that Charlie occasionally helps out MI-5 with underworld criminal practices like this from time to time. After negotiating a finders-fee price, Charlie is on the case and searching for clues while being pursued by the thief who first stole it. Soon some Russian bad guys kidnap Charlie to Moscow to meet Romonov (Ulrich Thompson), a sinister art dealer who wants that Goya.
But is the real Goya painting in the hands of the bad guys or hanging in an old man’s bathroom back in England? How does Lady Johanna figure in all of this with her own investigation? And what’s up with Charlie’s gag reflex when someone is about to vomit? At this point I didn’t even care; I almost walked out at this point. Seriously. But I stayed until the end, just for you dear readers so I could give you my review. No, that’s okay, no need to thank me.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
Get lost Mortdecai, move over Austin Powers, stand aside Maxwell Smart, here’s Inspector Clouseau. The world owes a HUGE debt to Peter Sellers and his bumbling, stumbling French detective who, despite his penchant for fouling things up, always came away solving the case. The Pink Panther series spawned eight movies under director Blake Edwards, two horrific re-makes with Steve Martin, and one bad one with Alan Arkin.
Coming in at number three in the series, Sellers was at his peak with director/writer Blake Edwards’ (with co-writer Frank Waldman) fantastic, funny script and crazy stunts galore thanks to Burt Kwok as Clouseau’s man-servant, Kato, who is under orders to attack his boss at anytime. The nutty plot involves Clouseau’s old boss, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (the glorious Herbert Lom), who’s gone completely mad, thanks to Clouseau. He’s escaped the psychiatric hospital, only to round up a host of dangerous criminals for one special purpose. . .to kill Clouseau!
Dreyfus kidnaps brilliant Professor Fassbender (Richard Vernon) and forces him to build a doomsday weapon which Dreyfus plans to unleash on the world unless Clouseau is eliminated. With that threat, Clouseau goes on the hunt for his old boss in England and Germany for clues, causing panic and trouble everywhere he goes. Meanwhile, the bounty on Clouseau’s head brings out many other nation’s assassins–who all get knocked off with Clouseau’s unknowing ineptness. But there is one sexy Russian agent (Lesley-Anne Down) who falls for the detective instead of killing him. Go figure.
Finally locating the deranged Dreyfus in a remote castle, Clouseau disguises himself as a dentist and infiltrates the building, but chaos ensues and the doomsday machine goes haywire (guess who’s fault that is?), leading to the goofy demise of Dreyfus (well, not really as he reappears in the next movie) and Clouseau being hailed a hero… again!
This is just pure fun to watch with Sellers at his best with the iconic character he created. Look for all the other characters he becomes when he dons his various disguises; the man was a virtuoso of comedy. Then you had Blake Edwards, the master of the gag and the comedy set-up and Kwok’s insane over-the-top kung-fu antics. Put them altogether and you got magic on the screen from start to finish, not to mention Henry Mancini’s score (which you KNOW instantly when you hear it anywhere) and the opening and closing cartoon credits.