Steve Martin is back, reprising the role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the second installment of the “Pink Panther” series.
The original “Pink Panther” (1964) starred the comedic genius Peter Sellers and an all-star cast, and was directed by Blake Edwards. The highly successful original was followed by eight sequels, ending in 1993.
As the movie begins, against his better judgment, Chief Inspector Dreyfus assigns Clouseau to find the famous Pink Panther diamond, stolen from a protective case in a French museum.
Several extremely important historical treasures including the Shroud of Turin, the Magna Carta, and the Royal Emperor’s Sword, have been stolen and it is up to Clouseau and his team to retrieve them, as well as the Pink Panther diamond, which is known to be a French national treasure.
As investigators arrive at the scene of the crime, Clouseau and his team including several top international detectives, played by Alfred Molina (Chief Inspector Randall Pepperidge), Yuki Matsuzaki (Kenji Mazuto) and Andy Garcia (Inspector Vicenzo Brancaleone), discover a card from the infamous Tornado. Not much is known about the thief except that “Tornado,” as he is called, once attempted to steal a vase while in France and was shot in the back of the shoulder. Nobody has been able to match Tornado’s DNA to the crime for the past decade.
While in Rome, the Tornado strikes again, and this time brazenly steals a ruby ring off the pope’s finger while the pope is sleeping. The evidence found at the crime scene eventually links the Tornado to both crimes.
Although the movie is meant to be a lighthearted farce, the acting is somewhat ineffective and annoying. The characters in “The Pink Panther 2” act silly, immature and unprofessional in a manner that will undoubtedly please the young and immature audience to which the movie appears directed.
Director Harald Zwart, who directed “One Night at McCool’s,” has a juvenile slapstick sensibility that does not comapare favorably to original “Pink Panther” director Edwards. For example, Clouseau fights with children and gets karate-kicked by two young boys.
In another scene, when Clouseau and the “Dream Team” of detectives eat at a restaurant, Martin’s character jumps up on the tables, clumsily knocking things over and eventually ends up burning the entire restaurant down. There is no real purpose or message in the movie. Even though the characters don’t act as any real investigators would, on a superficial level it is a movie that one can watch and have many laughs.
Furthermore, the writing is only somewhat effective as well. Since it is a comedy, the script focuses more on the character’s jokes and pranks than on their skills and abilities as actors.
Compared to the original, the jokes aren’t funny and lack substance.
The screenplay of was written by Michael Webber and Scott Neustadter with later contribution from Martin. It was then revised by Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, who are known as script doctors. Unfortunately, their efforts failed to revive the weak script.
With this expertise in screenwriting, they should have given more developed characters to Clouseau’s fellow detectives.
These characters do little to help solve the crimes or otherwise contribute anything important to the movie. The writers didn’t make it clear what the character’s roles were.
The script also didn’t adequately develop the characters of Sonia (Aishwarya Rai) as a female criminologist or that of Yvette Berenger (Lily Tomlin) as a police department instructor of etiquette.
One positive thing about the movie is that it presents a morally acceptable point of view by making Sonia a female criminology expert and Yvetter Berenger an etiquette instructor for a police department. This symbolizes that women have status and can do anything a man can do. Dressing Clouseau up as the pope may offend a segment of the audience.
For those looking to escape the weight of the current world situation, this movie may be somewhat entertaining comedic fare.
However, the “Pink Panther 2” remake fails to measure up to the high quality of the original “Pink Panther” as based on the creative skill of Sellers and Edwards.
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5.