Archives for posts with tag: Steve Martin

When I was a kid, I thought Peter Sellers’ films with Inspector Jacques Clouseau were hilarious. By the time Steve Martin’s reboot of “The Pink Panther” came around in 2006, I was grown and physical comedy was – groan. I can’t say I loved all Martin’s slapstick mishaps and flaming mojitos. It’s just too much of a mediocre thing. The basic premise – Clouseau is a good cop despite his clumsiness and has a way of stumbling into success – actually gets treated well by Martin and fellow detective Jean Reno. There were probably more comedically clever ways to make that point, however.

The story itself is head-scratchingly absurd, like a beta version of “Forrest Gump.” Everything in it is funny or stupid or stupid-funny. Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” (1979) is so obliviously innocent, the edgier jokes and witty wordplay catch you with your guard down. “Did I just see that? Did he just say that?” Somehow, the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of a man who seemingly floats from one unrelated set of hijinks to another (gas station attendant, carnival barker, millionaire inventor) is able to get itself together by the climax in a way that many modern comedies cannot, while still delivering continuous gags.

At the beginning of “Housesitter” (1992), Steve Martin tells Dana Delany he’s had a crush on her since ninth grade. Given that he’s 10 years older than her in real life (and looks every minute of it), I immediately began to have issues with this film. But then the more age-appropriate Goldie Hawn came along in her tight jeans and fixed everything. Martin and Hawn are such pros, they took a hackneyed rom-com plot (little fib becomes big lie, hijinks ensue, people make speeches, mismatched couple finally realizes true love, gag, the end) and turn it into something entirely watchable.