Steve Martin is a great physical comic, and the new "Pink Panther" is not without laughs. There are sight gags galore, and Beyoncé has star quality. But I liked the Henry Mancini music more than the punch lines.
Technically, this is a prequel to the Peter Sellers' original, but it still breaks the Joel Siegel sequel rule: If this had been the first of the series, would anyone have made a sequel? The answer, as Inspector Clouseau might have said, "Nuuuuuuu."
The Blake Edward's original from 1963 is one of the funniest movies of all time, and I'm clueless why Martin would make this film. He wouldn't do Charlie Chaplin; why do Peter Sellers? (Grade: C)
Ford Gets Mad and Even in 'Firewall'
I always ask actors and directors what they want audiences to take away when they see their films. I got to talk with Harrison Ford, and he told me, "There's nothing wrong with having fun at the movies." That's what "Firewall" is.
Ford plays a bank security guy. Paul Bettany, a great bad guy, holds his family hostage and forces Ford to rob his own bank of $100 million. A cyber-update to the family-held-hostage formula: We've seen Ford do it on an airplane, we've seen him do it as Jack Ryan. You know the saying: Don't get mad, get even. Because he's Harrison Ford, he gets to get mad and get even.
At a screening I was at, when Ford said: "You get your money when I get my family," someone in the audience screamed, "Yes!" And everybody cheered. It's that kind of movie. Too intense for kids, please note, but pure popcorn-munching fun. Grade: B.
'Curious George' Delivers the Monkey
When they're well-done, movies of even great books like "Curious George" do things books just can't. You'll see a chameleon bit that wasn't in the 1940s children's classic. It couldn't have been until modern animation and a filmmaker like Ron Howard came along.
This is a lovingly crafted adaptation. The story's kept simple. So is the animation. No razzle, no dazzle, and a little nostalgia for parents.The name of the ship that takes a troublesome chimp to America is the H.A. Rey. Tell your kids that that's the name of the guy who wrote the book. It's a wonderful first movie for the very young.
Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore and David Cross lead the vocal cast, with Ferrell playing the troubling simian's pal, known only in the 1940s books as "the man with the yellow hat."
Sure, I liked the comic animal mayhem better when Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn did it in "Bringing Up Baby," but this generation of kids is going to think they stole it from Grant and Hepburn. Rated G for "Gee Wiz," "Curious George" also has a great advertising tag line: "Show Me the Monkey." Grade: B.