Picks and Pans Review: Son of the Pink Panther

updated 09/13/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/13/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Roberto Benigni, Debrah Farentino, Robert Davi, Herbert Lom

To cite Ogden Nash, if called by this Panther, don't anther. Director Blake Edwards herewith tries to recycle his memorable 1964 comedy The Pink Panther, but this sequel is a miserable failure. Edwards miscasts Italian star Benigni as the policeman son of Clouseau, the bumbling French cop acted with such elegant lack of grace by Peter Sellers. As a comic actor, Benigni is closer to Jerry Lewis than he is to the subtle Sellers, relying on herky-jerky physical movements and excessive mugging.

The supporting cast doesn't help. Though Lom returns with his trademark tic, this time as Benigni's frazzled superior, Farentino is vapid as an Arab princess whose kidnapping motivates the plot, and her abductor, all-purpose villain Davi, has no aptitude for comedy.

Counting the animated TV show, this is the Panther's ninth life. Color him dead. (PG)

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