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Pink Panther 2

Steve Martin Sequel 2009

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Pretty Pink

  • Feb 7, 2009
Pros: Aishwarya Rai, the second-most beautiful woman in the world!

Cons: Feels forced sometimes

The Bottom Line: Blah.

My favorite joke in The Pink Panther 2 was the one about the French detectives hiring a counselor to teach the detectives how to be politically correct. This is the most outright satirical joke in The Pink Panther 2. It comes off like a shot at the PC police by a screenwriter who is getting somewhat annoyed at the very least, if not outright enraged. I loved Tomlin's running gag for two reasons: The first is because Tomlin plays it with a starry glow in her eye and a smirk on her face, as if she is telling the world that she thinks PC is a boatload of BS. The second is because I myself am a heartless, evil libertarian who among other things believes political correctness is a slippery slope down to censorship. Ahem, let me get back to the subject at hand...

The Pink Panther 2 is Steve Martin's second outing as Inspector Clouseau. Martin is of course stepping into the big shoes of Peter Sellers. This isn't an enviable task because not only was Sellers a great actor himself - not to mention the star Dr. Strangelove and Being There as well as the original Pink Panther series - but Martin is taking up a role which was the very definition of a popular movie star. Sellers made a lot of movies, but he is synonymous with Inspector Clouseau. If you looked up Peter Sellers in the movie dictionary, you would probably be presented with only the two words "Inspector Clouseau." Sellers owned the role and it will probably be his until the sun burns out. Picking anyone else to play Clouseau would be like trying to give Dwayne Johnson the role as The Terminator: No matter how good he is, he's never going to upstage Arnold Schwarzenegger. Martin is a great actor and he plays Clouseau well, but no one is forgetting Peter Sellers.

Admittedly, though, I'm not the guy who can judge. While A Shot in the Dark and The Pink Panther linger in my Netflix queue, I still have never seen them. I thought Martin was funny and even a little bit charming as Clouseau. The Pink Panther 2 gives him a high powered cast to work around so a bit of the pressure is taken off his back: Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, Lily Tomlin, Emily Mortimer, John Cleese, and Aishwarya Rai Buchchan all join an international team of detectives called in to find a collection of artifacts which were stolen recently by a thief known only as "Le Tornado." Inspector Clouseau is called in to be the champion of France to find the captured Pink Panther. Clouseau is inept. He actually thinks his boss assigned him to parking ticket duty for the good of the country.

The script of The Pink Panther 2 finds an odd balance between inspired brilliance and workmanlike hacking. One minute it gives you a clever and funny contest of deduction between Clouseau and Molina's Pepperdine, who have just met for the first time and are trying to show each other up. The next minute there is a lagging love - love square? - between Clouseau, Andy Garcia's Detective Doncorleone (yes, that is his name), Mortimer's Nicole, and Rai's Sonia. The Pink Panther hurries and it takes it time. I failed to get the name(s) of the scriptwriter or writers, so I can't give them out. But I suspect there was more than one person assigned to the script. The differences between the inspired parts and the dragging parts are just too great for only one person to be responsible.

The Pink Panther 2 is more madcap than outright, gut-busting funny. The gags mostly spill out because there's nothing else going on in the movie during the scene. They mostly come at Clouseau's ineptitude, and Martin to his credit milks them for everything they're worth. One very funny scene has him doing a bit of sleuthing around on his own at the mansion of the person the international dream team of detectives suspects of being the Tornado. While the jokes fly out at a rate which would impress Simpsons creator Matt Groening, unlike The Simpsons, The Pink Panther 2 is very hit-or-miss in what it gives you. The "love square" is one of the most forced love stories I've ever seen in any movie anywhere, and the scene where Clouseau is beat up by his karate-loving nephews is an idea which the old movie 3 Ninjas made and effectively killed within the same movie. It just isn't funny anymore.

Most of the jokes are slapstick. The clever shot at political correctness ("You can't say 'Blondes are dumb!'" "But they ARE dumb!") feels entirely like the script had just gotten very, very lucky. Sight gags are the whole of the movie, and like everything else, they range from inspired to average. A scene between Clouseau and Nicole at a restaurant in Rome actually gives us both of those extremes in the same scene - First, there is a great gag where Clouseau catches all the falling wine bottles from a shelf he bumped into, which really made me laugh. But afterward, there is a standard gag about him burning the place to the ground accidentally. As Ebert pointed out in his review of The Pink Panther 2, it would have been better if Clouseau had gone back into the restaurant after the scene and demanded to pay the check. Later, Martin burns down that very same restaurant again. 

The love story is VERY forced and contains no chemistry between any of the characters involved. What happens is Doncorleone develops eyes for Nicole and tells Clouseau that Sonia is in love with him. Clouseau and Nicole clearly like each other but neither of them are able to say it. Adding a bit of implausibility, at least to me, was the actresses playing Nicole and Sonia. Emily Mortimer is not bad-looking but any means. But Sonia is portrayed by the drop-dead-with-a-heart-attack-goddess Aishwarya Rai, who only recently had her spot as the World's most beautiful woman usurped by Slumdog Millionaire actress Frieda Pinto. Rai is so far above Mortimer there's really no contest to be had, so it's tough to believe anyone would go so nuts for Mortimer that he sics Rai on his opponent. And frankly, the whole concept of one trying to throw a girl at the other to claim the a girl for himself is silly and worn out.

The Pink Panther 2 is a rainy day movie. It's funny at points and dumb at others. But overall, I liked it. 


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More Pink Panther 2 reviews
review by . August 03, 2009
Inspector Clouseau joins the Dream Team, an international team made up of the most respected investigator's, to stop a theif from stealing the precious Pink Panther gem.     This movie cracked me up! It is hilarious. I don't normally watch a movie more than once, but I could watch this one all the time.
review by . June 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pink Panther, since the passing of Peter Sellers, no it hasn't been the same. Yes it is absolutely a formula movie. There are generally around 7 or 8 jokes evenly spread through the movie. Although Sellers was a much better Clouseau; the formula was pretty much the same.     So Steve Martin continues the formula. Does a workman job of being Clouseau, and has some darn funny moments in this film. Yes, it's a guilty pleasure (just like the originals). If you liked the first Steve …
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Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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"Let me bring you up to speed. We know nothing. Now you are up to speed." Thus is the bumbling, deadpan persona of Inspector Clouseau, as re-invented by Steve Martin, best summed up. In this sequel to the 2006 remake of the classic Peter Sellers films, Martin gets crisper direction and a smarter script than he did the first time out. Martin, to his great credit, has never been afraid to make himself look foolish or to take pratfalls--and if the viewer finds these remakes to be less satirical than the original Sellers films, he will still be letting our great laughs and chuckles through the course of the film. And what a cast! Martin is joined by John Cleese, Jeremy Irons, Lily Tomlin, Jean Reno, Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai, Emily Mortimer, Alfred Molina, and Andy Garcia--all of whom seem to be having a delightful romp--a feeling that’s contagious. The story picks up where the last film ended, with Clouseau’s having saved the precious Pink Panther diamond in Paris. Since then, Clouseau has been reassigned to parking-ticket duty, to keep him off the frayed nerves of Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Cleese). But a band of international thieves is wreaking havoc on the world’s treasures, and, before you can sayminkey, the priceless Pink Panther goes missing, again. If plot’s a bit predictable, it’s no matter, since thephunis in the haplessness of Clouseau and the rings of nuclear fallout that surround him. And you may never ...
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Genre: Comedy
Release Date: February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Steve Martin
Runtime: 92 minutes
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
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"Pretty Pink"
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