Columbo Conducts an Investigation

Peter Falk in Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes (2001)

Findlay Crawford (Billy Connolly) has been an award winning Hollywood composer and conduction for decades with a secret; most of his recent compositions have been scored by Gabriel McEnery (Chad Willett), a brilliant young musician who now wants to be acknowledged for his work. Fearing he will be exposed as a fraud and jealous of the young Gabriel's talents Gabriel murders him and then makes it look like suicide. Death brings Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) to conduct his investigation and quickly believes the death was no accident and was composed by someone.

Some say tomato, some say tomahto and some likes serious Columbo from the 70s, some like jokey Columbo from the 90s and 00s. You just need to browse the reviews of these later episodes of "Columbo" to see how much some despised it when the humour took centre stage. And that is what you will find with "Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes" as this is one of those later made for TV movies where Falk plays up on the comedy of his character's advancing years and his quirky mannerisms becoming all the more quirkier.

Billy Connolly in Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes (2001)

Now I don't mind the humorous episodes even those which almost spoof the original "Columbo" TV series but I do like them to come up with an interesting murder set up and some interesting characters and that is where "Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes" comes way short of the mark. Part of the trouble is that it is less than subtle with the clues from a broken glass to a missing baton it really dumbs it down and when it just relies on the humour it is never the same.

Where "Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes" also has problems is in the casting and I am a huge fan of Billy Connolly's but for me even a toned down Connolly doesn't work well in an episode of Columbo. It is again a case that all those wild eyed mannerisms which Connolly is so good at are just too over the top when you don't have enough crime solving to distract your attention from them.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes" is entertaining it is one which has issues with far too little mystery and crime solving for the amount of comedy it throws at the audience.

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