PG for some suggestive humor, brief mild language, and action.
Feb. 6, 2009
Steve Martin, Aishwarya Rai, Andy Garcia, John Cleese, Alfred Molina
Sony Pictures Releasing
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Silliness Abounds in 'Pink Panther 2'
By Belinda Elliott
- Steve Martin is back for another turn as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the bumbling French police detective. This time around he is part of a “dream team” of detectives assembled to solve a string of robberies that have recently occurred around the globe. The thefts are the work of “The Tornado,” an expert thief who has come out of retirement to steal several of the world’s most famous treasures, including The Pink Panther Diamond.
Until this very important assignment, the clumsy Clouseau had been assigned to parking detail by Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese). When word gets out that The Pink Panther is among the latest legendary treasures to be stolen, he is allowed to leave his parking tickets behind in search of The Tornado. He joins an elite group of detectives (Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who quickly learn that Clouseau’s presence often creates more problems than solutions.
Anyone familiar with The Pink Panther franchise (both Blake Edwards’ films featuring Peter Sellers as well as the more recent offerings starring Martin) will know what to expect going into this film. Those looking for anything more than 90 minutes of mindless entertainment will be disappointed. However, if slapstick comedy is something you enjoy, this film is for you.
As in most comedies of this type, there is not a lot of depth to the storyline and the movie’s one plot twist is rather predictable. However, Martin’s over-the-top antics combined with the script’s witty dialogue make up for anything that the story itself may be lacking.
Steve Martin carries the film, proving again that he is a master of physical comedy as well as a genius at incorporating comedic facial expressions. He has several very funny bits that center around how his clumsiness leads to disastrous results. There are also a few humorous interactions between him and Nicole, his assistant for whom he secretly has romantic feelings. Actress Emily Mortimer returns once again to play this role, and she does so beautifully.
Adding to the humor is an on-going joke about Clouseau’s lack of political correctness. In his naivety, he repeatedly makes comments that offend his comrades. Each one leads to a rebuke by Mrs. Berenger, a woman who has been hired by the French Justice Department to instruct all of its employees in political and social correctness. The role is played by actress Lily Tomlin in her first film with Martin since All of Me. The pair’s energetic chemistry makes their scenes quite enjoyable to watch.
In fact, Martin is surrounded by a cast of many very talented comedians. Unfortunately, not all of them are used as prominently as they could have been. Still, silly blunders and sight gags abound offering plenty of giggles.
Perhaps the best thing about this film is that it offers laughs that are suitable for the whole family. It is rated PG for occasional crude and suggestive humor and language. However, the film does not contain any nudity or profanity, a rarity in Hollywood comedies these days.
With its mindless comedy and loveable, though flawed, characters, The Pink Panther 2 is not a masterpiece of cinema by any means. But it is an enjoyable way to kill some time on a wintry afternoon.
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