It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
It's unfortunate that Peter Sellers should be making his comeback just at a moment when American movie comedies are not. Sellers has been at his worst recently with "The Bobo," "Casino Royale" (1967) and "What's New Pussycat?" -- all of which pampered his seemingly insatiable desire to dress in half a dozen costumes and try out new accents.
But Sellers began to turn the corner again in Blake Edwards' "The Party," and now in "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas" he is back doing what he does best. That is, he plays a character that is orthodox, conventional and almost monomaniacal about respectability -- and the character suddenly gets dumped into a totally different life style.
Our best memories of Sellers all have him in this context: The priggish union leader of "I'm All Right, Jack," who suddenly found himself on television; the timid bank clerk of "Battle of the Sexes," who decided to commit a murder; the military man of "The Mouse That Roared," stalking through Manhattan with bow and arrow; the visitor from India in "The Party." Even Inspector Clouseau was the same basic character: timid, full of bravado, in over his head, struggling to save face.
The trouble with the Inspector Clouseau films ("A Shot in the Dark" and the 1964 "The Pink Panther") from Sellers' point of view was that they encouraged him to substitute sight gags and pratfalls for what he does best -- building a character. In his other recent films, we saw Sellers as Napoleon, a bullfighter, a nutty analyst -- but never as a classic Sellers character.