- Rated PG
- Buy the BD
All photos © Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
teve Martin’s 2006 reboot of the “Pink Panther” series may have been one of the worst movies of that year, but it still raked in $158 million at the box office, all but confirming the inevitable sequel. Unfortunately, that sequel just so happens to be scheduled for release a mere four weeks after “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” which means that Sony will have two movies starring bumbling protagonists in theaters at the same time. As if one stupid comedy wasn’t enough, “The Pink Panther 2” proves that no matter how many great actors you cram into a room, it doesn’t result in a great movie. A slight improvement over the first film, “The Pink Panther 2” isn’t as big of a disaster as “Paul Blart,” but it’s close.
It’s been several months since Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Martin) was awarded the Medal of Honor for retrieving the beloved Pink Panther diamond, and in an attempt to avoid further embarrassment, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) has reassigned the witless detective to parking meter duty. When an international thief known as The Tornado begins stealing the world’s most priceless treasures, however, Clouseau is chosen to lead the team assigned to the investigation. On his way to Kyoto to meet up with the rest of the team – Vicenzo (Andy Garcia) from Italy, Pepperidge (Alfred Molina) from England, and Kenji (Yuki Matsuzaki) from Japan – Clouseau’s travel plans are halted when the Pink Panther diamond suddenly goes missing. Determined to stop the thief before he strikes again, the detectives assemble in France while the clues are still fresh, but in typical Clouseau fashion, solving the case is easier said than done.
Anyone that enjoyed Martin’s first adventure as Inspector Clouseau will find plenty to laugh at here – he bumbles around town destroying evidence, burning down buildings, and generally acting like an idiot – but it’s nothing that guys like Rowan Atkinson haven’t already been doing for years. Even Martin himself is a much better physical comedian than the film might suggest, and with the exception of a clever set piece involving the juggling of hundreds of wine bottles, the comedy falls flat. Even worse than the series of uninspired pratfalls are Martin’s numerous attempts at creating humorous situations out of Clouseau’s French accent and un-PC behavior. That “hamburger” joke wasn’t very funny in the first film, and it’s even less so in the sequel. Don’t tell Martin that, though, because he doesn’t waste any time in bringing it back, nor does he mind recycling other gags in similar fashion.
If Martin was just making a fool of himself, it probably wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but he also drags some pretty respectable talent into the mix that begs to ask the question, what were they thinking? Sure, Andy Garcia has a substantial role as the man trying to woo Clouseau’s secretary, Nicole (Emily Mortimer), but Alfred Molina just stands around in the background for most of the film, only to make a complete ass of himself in the final minutes. John Cleese (stepping in for Kevin Kline) is the one person who delivers a few genuine laughs, while returning actors like Mortimer and Jean Reno suffer a loss of screen time as a result of the inflated cast. What were they thinking? Martin may have something to gain from their involvement – bigger names means a bigger box office – but everyone else just comes off looking like even more of an idiot than Clouseau himself. You can blame the economy, the writer's strike, or even their agents, but surely they all have better things to do than star in something as moronic as "The Pink Panther 2." Then again, maybe not.
Three-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
MGM hasn’t exactly gone all out on the Blu-ray release of “The Pink Panther 2,” but it’s certainly better than most people expected. Along with a generic cast featurette (“A Dream Team Like No Other”) that touches on the accents each actor had to learn for their respective roles, the extras also include a short gag reel, a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s stunts (“Drama is Easy… Comedy is Dangerous”), and a trivia game called “Master Thief: Global Crime Showdown.” The highlight of the three-disc set, however, is a bonus DVD that includes nearly three hours of classic “Pink Panther” cartoons. Then again, the cartoons are actually worth the price of the Blu-ray, so maybe it’s the film that should be viewed as the bonus.