Blake Edwards, Hollywood’s one-time ingenious farceur, desperately tries to bounce back with Son of the Pink Panther, the eighth episode in the series that began in 1964. Starring Italian comedian Roberto Benigni as the new bumbling inspector, it is a tired pastiche of recycled sketches and gags.
This time around, twitching Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is investigating the disappearance of Princess Yasmin (Debrah Farentino), kidnapped by a nasty terrorist (Robert Davi). Also assigned to the case if Jacques Gambrelli (Benigni), a second-class gendarme who doesn’t initially realize he’s the illegitimate son of the famed Inspector Clouseau. Nor, to his dismay, does Lom.
Too bad that Edwards’ speciality, the elaborate orchestration of sight gags with hilarious payoffs, is almost absent here, replaced by vulgar slapstick humor and a few effective gags. Benigni is the major asset, but his vast talents are underutilized.