(2009) Pink Panther 2 Reviews
Herald Tribune Review
Something funny happened between “Pink Panther” and “Pink Panther 2,” and thank goodness it did.
This sequel to the Steve Martin remake of the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers franchise of the 1960s and ’70s has more bounce, humor and verve than Martin’s first crack at Inspector Clouseau.
That’s not to say either film is a must-see, except for Martin completists. But this second version is so much better than the embarrassment that was the first. Perhaps that will convince Martin to stop tinkering with it.
The 2006 version introduced the new cast covering much the same ground as Edwards did. John Cleese took on the role of Clouseau’s always-exasperated boss; Emily Mortimer played Clouseau’s secret female admirer; Jean Reno signed on as Clouseau’s partner/straight man.
They all return, but not under the direction of middling Hollywood comedy-slinger Shawn Levy (“Just Married,” “Cheaper By the Dozen”). This time, Norwegian director Harald Zwart (“One Night at McCool’s”) runs things, and it’s an improvement.
The plot departs from many of the tropes of the old series, too. Clouseau becomes part of a detective “dream team” attempting to capture bold international thief “The Tornado,” who has stolen the Shroud of Turin, the Magna Carta and the pope’s ring.
(That last sentence gives you an idea of how much this stuff is anchored in reality.)
Joining Clouseau in his ring of detectives are investigators played by Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Yuki Matsuzaki and the Indian actress often called the most beautiful woman in the world, Aishwarya Rai.
Rai is darned cute, all right. And she has got a nice touch of that bewildered beauty that Elke Sommer lent to the original series.
But everyone in the cast seems to have a good time, and Zwart keeps the pace brisk. He also reins in Martin, which Levy didn’t do last time.
Working as part of an ensemble, Martin’s Clouseau becomes an interesting character role, rather than a star turn. And Martin’s apparent admission that, at 63, he ought to have lots of stunt doubles, is a good one.
Of course, even average Steve Martin appeals to Martin’s many fans, and that’s most of the appeal in this batch of No. 2. It’s still pretty silly, but this time it’s watchable and kind of fun, too.
A great cast is attached to this so-so film directed by Harald Zwart (”Agent Cody Banks”), but it hurts a little to see Steve Martin reprise his role as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in ”The Pink Panther 2”. Some of the scenes serve as a reminder of his days on “Saturday Night Live,” his brilliant comedic performances, ability to mould into different characters and perform physical comedy. He brings some of that to this character, but he is more annoying than humorous. He also contributed to the script, penned by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (”500 Days of Summer”).
There are some laughs in the film as Insp. Clouseau bumbles around Europe with an elite squad called The Dream Team, hired to find irreplaceable historical and cultural artifacts stolen from around the world by the mysterious international thief, The Tornado. He is joined by Ponton (Jean Reno) and his love interest Nicole (Emily Mortimer). Both reprise their roles in the sequel and remain Insp. Clouseau’s strongest allies. Ponton is kicked out of his house after following Insp. Clouseau’s advice on confronting his wife and comes to live with Clouseau, along with his two rambunctious sons. The beautiful Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays a detective that tries to take Insp. Clouseau’s attention away from Nicole. Meanwhile, detective Vicenzo (Andy Garcia) tries to win Nicole’s heart. Rai Bachchan is very good at playing the femme fatale and it would be great to see the Bollywood star in more Hollywood films. Much of the film’s humor draws from miscommunications, love triangles and of course Insp. Clouseau’s often misguided techniques for solving crimes. He gets on the nerves of Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) and creates difficult and outlandish situations that he is always able to walk away from, relatively unharmed. As the Dream Team and the public lose respect for Insp. Clouseau as he continues to botch the case and falls off the Pope’s balcony while dressed as the Pope, he is thrown off the case and sent back to work as a parking officer. It is then that he solves the case, saving his reputation and winning back Nicole.
While there have been on and off screen pairings with bigger age differences, it is a little hard to picture 37 year old Emily Mortimer, who looks younger than her age, with 63 year old Steve Martin, who has aged well but is still old enough to be her dad. Andy Garcia plays the reverse of Terry Benedict, his character in the “Ocean’s” films, and is an amiable, warm-hearted detective that is probably a better suited love match for Nicole. Aside from the love story, Insp. Clouseau traipses around with the Dream Team, irritating people and setting restaurants ablaze. Martin is reunited with Lily Tomlin and their scenes are the most dynamic. She plays Mrs. Berenger, a woman bent on teaching Insp. Clouseau about political correctness and their scenes are charming.
Even with Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man 2″) and Yuki Matsuzaki (“Letters from Iwo Jima”) rounding out the stellar cast of the Dream Team and Jeremy Irons, who plays Avellaneda, a man the Dream Team suspects is The Tornado, this film is still missing something. The film’s stunt coordinator, Ernie F. Orsatti (“The Pink Panther”) does an excellent job creating memorable scenes that strengthen the film, especially when a room full of waiters try to save wine bottles Insp. Clouseau knocks over.
Though it is a goofy comedy, the audience could care more about the characters and be engrossed in the story. It seems like a half hearted effort to keep the franchise going. Kids will probably enjoy the flick, so it’s worth it to bring them and if you are a fan of any of the actors it is fun seeing them take on light hearted roles.
Times of India Review
Okay. Let’s assuage your curiosity at the onset. Here’s the answer to your million dollar question: No! apni Aishwarya doesn’t disappear from the screen when you blink your eyes. Ever since her presence in Pink Panther was announced, the grapevine has been bustling with queries about the length and breadth of her role, with sceptics predicting a mere cosmetic presence. Remember Mallika Sherawat in Jackie Chan’s The Myth?
Well, Ash may not have much to say in this Steve Martin show, other than stock lines. And, she may have spent most of her time as a svelte, also-starring, member of the Clouseau gang. But she plays a role that’s of a completely different hue from her popular Bollywood avtars. Reason enough for the desi film buff to celebrate our desi girl’s cross over. But of course, we, being the argumentative Indians, do have a niggling query…How come, most of the men have their hormones shooting up for the sober Nicole (Emily Mortimer), when actually, there ain’t nobody like our desi girl? Strangely, nobody has the hots for Ash and both Andy Garcia and Steve Martin seem to go in a tizzy whenever the dumb, drab blonde’s around. Ekdum hard to digest.
The film’s a light and breezy comedy which you can definitely enjoy, if you stop looking for Peter Sellers in Steve Martin. Martin’s Inspector Clouseau is a bumbling, bright old fella who bites the dust, whenever he is supposed to stand tall and vice versa. Elevated from his punishment posting as a traffic cop to the elite dream team set up to nab The Tornado, the new thief round the block, he sets out on a goofball mission that sees him doing the silliest things, with French panache. The Tornado has already stolen the Magna Carter, the sword of the Japanese Emperor and now wants to steal the famed diamond, The Pink Panther, which is a symbol of French honour. The international team of detectives, comprising stalwarts like Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, Aishwarya Rai, sets out on a roller coaster ride of upmanship.
Needless to say, it’s affable old Clouseau who steals the show, with his antics, which include a hilarious rip-off as the Pope. And yes, his love-hate relationship with Chief Inspector Dreyfuss (John Cleese) literally sets the guns blaring. Don’t expect a monumental performance by Aishwarya, and you’ll find this sequel a pleasant viewing.