The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Inspector Clouseau is, you will recall, the world's most incompetent detective. But at least in the past he has been assigned to fairly unimportant cases -- such as the one involving the theft of the world's most precious jewel. In "The Pink Panther Strikes Again," he finds himself up against a slightly more difficult case. The United Nations building has disappeared from the face of the Earth, and now a madman has gone on television to announce that all England will be next. No more warm beer, no more Picadilly Circus...
Clouseau is assigned to the case. Well, not exactly assigned; it's just that he exudes an ill-fated magnetism for trouble of this sort. Conspirators and spies and mysterious young women have a way of gathering around him, usually while he is involved in the study of something totally insignificant, such as the operation of a light switch. This time, Clouseau's on a world scale: His old rival in the Paris police (Herbert Lom) has taken over a Transylvanian castle, installed a mad scientist and announced that he will destroy the world ... unless Clouseau is eliminated.
Clouseau's investigation involves the usual variety of sight gags -- some inspired, some merely borrowed -- that Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards have been supplying in the Pink Panther series for, believe it or not, nearly 15 years. Some are among their best moments, as when Clouseau, working out on the parallel bars in the gymnasium of an English country home, flips himself the wrong way and falls down a flight of stairs into the drawing room. He is, as always, unflappable: The suspects have been assembled there, and he proceeds to question them.
There is also the business of getting across a moat and into Herbert Lom's gothic castle. Clouseau tries, and fails, at every possible means of attack, including canoes, vaulting poles and catapults. There's an earnest desperation in a lot of Peter Sellers' physical humor here that's appealing: We laugh, but he's not in on the joke. He simply wants very much to get across that moat. And he finally succeeds, in a nice companion piece to the teeth-drilling scenes in "Marathon Man," by disguising himself as the village dentist and recklessly going after Herbert Lom's teeth. They're both giddy with laughing gas at the time, and so Lom doesn't even especially care.
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