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Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
Son of the Pink Panther (1993) is the ninth entry in the 30-year-old The Pink Panther film series. Directed by Blake Edwards, it stars Roberto Benigni as Inspector Clouseau's illegitimate son. Also in this film are Panther regulars Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk and Graham Stark and a star of the original 1963 film, Claudia Cardinale. The film was the final film for Blake Edwards, and he retired from the movies afterwards. It opened to poor box office and bitter reviews from critics who felt the Pink Panther movies ran their course. Princess Yasmin of Lugash (Debrah Farentino) is abducted in French territorial waters to force her father to abdicate and allow her disgraced stepmother's lover, a military general with terrorist ties to an unfriendly neighboring kingdom to claim the throne. Police Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is tasked with solving the case of the kidnapped princess. While investigating her disappearance in the South of France, he has a run-in with the kidnappers, and a local gendarme, Jacques Gambrelli (Roberto Benigni). Gambrelli opens the trunk of the kidnapper's van and unknowingly spies the Princess who he believes is the driver's sister en route to the hospital.
You can guess from the title what's up here: Clouseau is long gone, and Maria Gambrelli (from A Shot in the Dark) has moved on with her life. Add in a kidnapped princess and police commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom, impossibly still alive) who stumble into Maria's world. Then throw in Clouseau's long-lost son, the idiotic Jacques Cambrelli, who is, yes, Maria's offspring.
The story actually gets more convoluted from there -- and never does it get any more amusing than someone falling down, falling out of a window, or falling off of a bed. Those expecting the Pink Panther series' mysterious hijinks are going to be sorely mistaken, replaced instead by a bumbling, balding Italian attempting to act half-French.
Everyone thought the $2.5 million box office disaster of Son of the Pink Panther was the death knell for the series, and no one could have predicted 2006's prequel of The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin, to rear its ugly head. The good news: Early returns on Pink 2006 are so poor that it looks like it'll be another 13 years before anyone tries again. [Uh oh... -Ed.]