February 14, 2009 / 1:25 AM / in 9 years

Martin laughs off criticism of "Pink Panther 2"

BERLIN (Reuters) - Actor Steve Martin on Friday dismissed poor reviews of the latest Pink Panther movie saying critics are always snobs when it comes to comedy.

<p>Actor Steve Martin poses with a person wearing a pink panther costume during a photocall to promote the movie "Pink Panther 2" at the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele</p>

“I have received bad reviews my whole life,” Martin said as he presented “Pink Panther 2” at the Berlin film festival, his second turn as bungling French detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau, a role made famous by Peter Sellers.

“I received bad reviews when I started with my stand-up act. ‘The Jerk’, one of my most enduring comedy films, was universally panned in America. And comedies always have to overcome critical snobbery,” said Martin, 63.

“It’s just the way it is. And so you go, oh, well, okay, why are these movies that you’ve criticized so archly still around 10 years later, 15 years later, 20 years later. It’s because comedy is not a critics’ medium. It just isn‘t.”

The film took a mere $12 million at its opening weekend in the United States -- down 40 percent on Martin’s first outing as Clouseau in 2006.

The Washington Post said “Pink Panther 2” was “clawless” and Martin “clueless” as Clouseau. In Britain, The Times described the movie as “a tedious string of pratfalls.”

POPE‘S BLESSING?

Martin was asked in Berlin how he felt the Pope would respond to a scene in which Clouseau impersonates the Pontiff.

“Actually, he requested me,” Martin quipped to laughter.

When his co-star, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, was asked if she saw herself as a role model for girls in India, she hesitated. Martin did not.

“I know I do,” Martin answered, before launching into a banjo performance.

The film, directed by Dutch-born Norwegian Harald Zwart, also features John Cleese as Martin’s boss Chief Inspector Dreyfus, French actor Jean Reno, Alfred Molina and Andy Garcia.

Martin was asked whether he had asked permission to shoot a lengthy scene set in the Vatican.

“We didn’t ask permission because we didn’t shoot in the Vatican. But I think the Catholic Church has been kidded and joked about for years. They’re just used to it,” Martin said.

“I think the Catholic Church will probably last longer than this film.”

Editing by Paul Casciato

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