Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘The Pink Panther’
There are dozens of biographies on Johnny Depp and a surprising amount of them use the word “rebel” in the title. There’s the Passionate Rebel, the Modern Rebel and even Hollywood’s Best-Loved Rebel.
There can be no argument that Depp is a fearless actor, unafraid to tackle tough, challenging roles, but it’s hard to accept the rebel title these days. For 20 years, he wildly threw darts at the wall, making exciting movies with interesting directors.
With Tim Burton, he created the off-kilter Eds — Wood and Scissorhands. With John Waters, he produced Wade Walker, the greaser love interest in Cry-baby. And, with Lasse Hallström, he came up with Gilbert Grape, caregiver to his brother and morbidly obese mother.
Along the way, he was also Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the world’s most successful drug dealer in Blow, and the depraved poet at the dark heart of The Libertine.
Few actors could have pulled off Ed Wood and no one does debauched like Johnny, but the carefully cultivated hip outsider image was never truly accurate. Shrouded in a cloud of Gauloise smoke, he was one of Hollywood’s too-cool-for-school kids, emitting an outsider’s aura, while astutely playing the Hollywood game.
But any remaining traces of Depp’s bohemian status were wiped away with Captain Jack Sparrow’s colourful scarves in the tetralogy of Pirates of the Caribbean movies. They made him a superstar, and wealthy enough to buy Bahamian islands, but also ushered in the damaging wig and makeup era of his career.
The pale makeup of Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland’s crazy oversized hat, and the raven headdress of The Lone Ranger overshadowed Depp’s performances, obscuring his character work with props and flash.
This weekend, he hides behind a moustache in the comedy Mortdecai.
As the title character, he’s pompous, bumbling — imagine Inspector Clouseau with an English accent and an attitude — and on a worldwide hunt for a painting said to contain the code to a lost bank account.
Will people be attracted to Mortdecai? Hard to know. Depp’s showy performances have, by-and-large, garnered big box office but profitability, while important to the suits who green light projects like this, is exactly what’s killing Depp’s credibility as a serious actor.
He’s not in Nicolas Cage territory yet — there’s an actor whose Western Kabuki style of acting redefines idiosyncratic — but with Pirates of the Caribbean 5 coming soon, perhaps it’s time to put Depp’s rebel actor image or reliance on props to bed.
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Beware The Quirk! The Killer of Careers! The fearful beast is known to inhabit Southern California and frequently seen lurking in the Hollywood Hills. Easily recognizable by its overuse of make-up, strange facial hair and flamboyant dress, The Quirk lives off schtick and frequently speaks in a funny voice, seducing its victims—usually actors—with a siren song of bad jokes and vocal tics.
Johnny Depp has been outrunning The Quirk for years, narrowly missing the beast’s bony grip. Until now. The Quirk has finally claimed Depp, leaving behind a mass of exaggerated accents, silly walks, gapped teeth and lurid lip hair known as “Mortdecai.”
Based on “The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery” by Kyril Bonfiglioli, the movie stars Depp in the title role as a wealthy art dealer with a taste for the finer things in life, an obsessive habit of grooming his facial hair and a nearly empty bank account. He’s pompous, bumbling—imagine a jet-setting Inspector Clouseau with an English accent and an attitude—and on a worldwide hunt for a rare Goya painting said to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Along for the ride are Mortdecai’s his trusty cockney manservant Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany), Gwyneth Paltrow as Lady Johanna Mortdecai, Ewan McGregor as an MI5 agent and Jeff Goldblum as a “thick-fingered vulgarian.”
“Mortdecai” breathes the same air as “The Pink Panther” movies, with an added nod to the 1967 “Casino Royale,” an all-star heist movie most notable for featuring both Woody Allen and Orson Welles on the same marquee, but gets lightheaded when it comes to replicating the easy-breezy tone of those films. Capers flicks of a bygone era had a swingin’, hip feel of controlled chaos not overplayed farce but Depp is pedal-to-the-metal, quirking-it-up in a display completely without charm and worse, without wit. He sets the mood for the film—daft, overly mannered, arch and unfunny—and his preening feeds The Quirk, but leaves the audience hungry for laughs.
There was a time when Steve Martin’s idiot character was truly original and funny. Twenty-five years ago when he made films like The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid Martin was the jackass du jour, an actor who could deftly mix slapstick with pathos and transcend the genre. Think The Three Stooges mixed with Moliere.
In the eighties and nineties his films took on a higher, more sophisticated tone. Recently, however, his work has been more commercial, and quite uneven. Cheaper By the Dozen and Bringing Down the House made big cash and re-established him as a box office draw but will do nothing for his comic legacy.
Which brings us to The Pink Panther.
Forty-two years ago Peter Sellers created one of the screen’s most indelible comic characters, the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Since then there have been several attempts to recreate the Seller’s magic—Alan Arkin and Roberto Benigni have both tried and failed—with the most recent being Steve Martin.
Martin gives it his all but never rises above mimicking Peter Sellers. As Martin—using an accent reminiscent of a French Elmer Fudd—pratfalls his way through this caper film I was constantly reminded of other, better movies. Of course the ghost of Peter Sellers looms large, but also Martin’s earlier work. A scene with Martin and Jean Reno as unlikely bedmates made me long for the similar and funnier scene with John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A dance interlude reminded me of Martin’s famous dance with Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live. In short, nothing in this film feels original.
The Pink Panther has a couple of laughs, but I’d recommend sticking to the real deal and checking out the recent Pink Panther DVD box set featuring Peter Sellers.