Review: Pink Panther 2

Pink Panther 2
5 10

Plot: When the Pink Panther diamond is stolen, the ever bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin) teams up with a crack squad of international detectives, headed by a suave Italian investigator (Andy Garcia), with designs on Clouseau’s faithful girlfriend, Nicole (Emily Mortimer).

Review: Confession: I never saw the 2006 reboot of THE PINK PANTHER franchise. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one Inspector Clouseau, and that person is not Steve Martin. Of course, I’m talking about the one and only Peter Sellers- who played the role in five films (not including TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER, which was essentially a clip movie made to cash in two years after his untimely death).

The idea of re-launching the PINK PANTHER series always struck me as a bad idea, and oddly enough, Steve Martin was not the first actor to try and fill Sellers’ shoes. In 1968, after he left the series for the first time, the role was recast with Alan Arkin in the film INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU, which flopped, and has since faded into obscurity. Blake Edwards, the director behind the original PANTHER films, tried to resurrect the series twice- once in the 1983 film, CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER, with American actor Ted Wass (BLOSSOM’s dad!) playing a dopey American cop looking for the missing Clouseau (with Roger Moore playing the role in an extended cameo, where he actually does a fairly good Sellers impersonation). The film flopped miserably, but ten years later, Edwards tried again, casting Roberto Benigni as Clouseau’s dim-witted son, but that film also flopped.

Surprisingly, the 2006 reboot was fairly successful, probably due to Steve Martin’s enduring popularity, and as a result, we now have the imaginatively titled PINK PANTHER 2. Having not seen the previous film, I can’t really say whether or not this is an improvement, but overall I was not terribly impressed with this installment.

To begin with, Steve Martin, despite being a comedic genius in his own right, is terribly miscast as Clouseau. I’ve never thought Martin was terribly effective in slapstick (except THE JERK, and maybe ALL OF ME). I’ve always thought Martin was at his best in films like PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES (one of my favorite movies of all time) - where the comedy has a bit of a harder edge, and isn’t afraid to tug at the heartstrings a bit. Martin does his best here, but he doesn’t have the same flair for slapstick as Sellers. The only part of this film that actually made me laugh are his scenes with ALL OF ME co-star Lily Tomlin, who plays a sensitivity trainer charged with making Clouseau a little more P.C. Their exchanges are actually pretty funny, and the chemistry is still there despite the fact that they haven’t worked together in 25 years.

The supporting cast for the film is fairly strong, with Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, and Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai poping up in key roles, but none of them really make an impression, as all they have to do is look exasperated at Clouseau’s wacky antics. John Cleese pops up as Chief Inspector Dreyfus (replacing Kevin Kline), but he also has some mighty big shoes to fill, as the original series Herbert Lom was almost as iconic as Dreyfus as Sellers was playing Clouseau. Naturally Cleese is no Herbert Lom, and he kinda seems to phone the role in a bit.

While it’s not a terrible film, THE PINK PANTHER 2 is still a fairly unnecessary sequel, and probably only of interest to those who enjoyed the last film (although despite the fact that it was financially successful, I don’t think I’ve ever run into anyone who actually liked it). Young children may enjoy the film, but I bet they’d like the original Panther films with Sellers even more- so my advice is skip this and go pick up the new PINK PANTHER box set that just came out, and prepare to bust a gut.

Grade: 5/10

Source: JoBlo.com



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