Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Pink Panther 2

Pink Panther 2 Title

  • Released Internationally on 06/02/09
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 11/02/09

The sequel to the reboot

Inspector Jacques Clouseau is back, whether the world likes it or not. The bumbling French detective, made famous by Peter Sellers in the 60s and 70s, is once again out to reclaim France’s national treasure, the priceless pink diamond dubbed ‘The Pink Panther’. With a chequered history, and featuring numerous actors throughout the years, the franchise now contains eleven films, spanning over forty-five years, and of greatly varying quality. Steve Martin enjoyed moderate success when he revived the role in 2006, and most of the cast of that film are back for this sequel, as is the titular diamond with a habit of getting stolen.

The dream team

The world is in a state of panic as a mysterious criminal who goes by the name of ‘The Tornado’ swiftly makes off with priceless artefacts from England, Japan and Italy. An international team of the greatest detective minds is assembled, and based on previous achievements Clouseau is asked to lead the team. This doesn’t go down too well with his boss, Chief Inspector Dreyfuss (John Cleese, replacing Kevin Kline from the 2006 film), who firmly believes Clouseau is a nitwit. This impression is soon shared by the rest of the dream team, and after numerous public embarrassments he is thrown off the team, and the mystery solved without him. Or so they think.

All-star cast, in all-star locations

The main box-office draw is presumably the cast, which include Jean Reno (Léon, The Da Vinci Code) and Emily Mortimer (Young Adam, Match Point) reprising their roles from the 2006 outing as members of the French police staff. The dream team includes Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III, Ocean’s Eleven) representing Italy, Alfred Molina (Frida, Spider-man 2) representing the Brits, and the stunning Aishwarya Rai as a crime expert from India. Jeremy Irons makes a brief and laconic appearance as a rich art expert thought at one point to be the ‘tornado’ in question. Very nearly upstaging all these big names are the wonderful European locations used extensively throughout the film. Set primarily in Paris, the film is a virtual tour of the city, both indoor and outdoor, and the French action is interspersed with scenes in The Vatican and other historic locales, adding some much needed class to an otherwise sometimes ridiculous film.

Silly isn’t always funny

This is the most jarring flaw of a generally fun film. A number of sequences deteriorate into poorly-executed slapstick, and despite his many talents Martin doesn’t always have the panache to pull them off. Some scenes are painful to watch, especially with stars like Garcia and Molina having to spout cringe-inducing dialogue. Thankfully, the film is peppered with a few sequences that do in fact work, and occasionally work wonderfully, but overall the film is evidently trying too hard to be funny.

In the end

Steve Martin has showed us he can be one of the funniest actors around, but despite successfully managing to revive the Clouseau character, it’s far from his best work, and the surrounding film is often flat and simple. Still fun at times, with a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, but it works best simply as a tourist guide to Paris.





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