Genre: Slapstick Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.
Release Date: February 6th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Harald Zwart Actors: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Aishwarya Rai, Andy Garcia, John Cleese, Alfred Molina, Lily Tomlin, Jeremy Irons
t’s unfortunate that audiences won’t know until the end of the film that the best part of “The Pink Panther 2” is its opening credits cartoon. The impressive cast and grand locales almost manage to overcome Steve Martin’s utterly horrendous impression of Peter Seller’s infamously heavy-handed Inspector Clouseau, but the trite gags and immature pranks tire quickly. A few laughs do find their way into the antics, though perhaps more in pity than true amusement, leaving this second part on par with its deplorable predecessor.
When notorious national treasure thief “The Tornado” returns from years of inactivity, a group of the world’s finest detectives are assembled to investigate. Due to the fame garnered from his past (mis)adventures in recovering the priceless Pink Panther Diamond, Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin) is asked to lead the team of specialists, including Vicenzo (Andy Garcia), Pepperidge (Alfred Molina), Kenji (Yuki Matsuzaki), and Tornado expert Sonia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). With his unorthodox and clumsy method of sleuthing, it’s not long before Clouseau has publicly embarrassed the team of detectives. Now he must simultaneously regain his image and solve the mystery, while attempting to foil the advances of Vicenzo toward Clouseau’s longtime sweetheart Nicole (Emily Mortimer).
Obviously, the best thing to come of Steve Martin’s ludicrous sequel to a pathetic remake is the desire to watch the original Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” movies, of which there are plenty. In Martin’s defense, there is something momentarily amusing about adults bumbling around like children, cavorting in absurd dance sequences, and muttering in terribly stereotypical accents – but it doesn’t last long. Several scenes are so ridiculous they’re funny, but the majority of the film is so obnoxiously immature that it’s just plain stupid. The few genuine laughs are quickly covered up by exasperating slapstick and pointless characters.
The unpronounceable “hamburger” gag, overly destructive karate, and strained semi-French lingo are all reused. It’s clear that what worked for the first film (commercially, not critically) has returned, leaving no room for fresh creativity. Clouseau is still a small-minded nitwit, eye-candy supporting ladies are ever-present, and the Chief of Police still unbelievably allows the scatterbrained inspector to solve crimes while carelessly destroying evidence and embarrassing the nation. Although viewers will lose brain cells watching Steve Martin reprise his mind-numbing role, at least the opening title sequence animation and jazzy music remain as accompaniment.
– The Massie Twins