Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Pink Panther 2 (**)

The Pink Panther 2.  92 mins.  PG.  Directed by Harald Zwart.  Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber and Steve Martin.  Starring Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, John Cleese, Lily Tomlin, and Jeremy Irons.

Steve Martin is a funny guy, but he's really testing fans' patience with this reworked Pink Panther series.  The first Pink Panther was a surprise hit with family audiences, thus spawning the inevitable sequel.  Pink Panther 2 is more of the same, with Martin's Inspector Clouseau engaging in some very broad physical comedy (clearly performed by a stunt double) while working with a "dream team" of international detectives trying to solve a series of thefts perpetrated by someone known as The Tornado.  There are many talented actors picking up a paycheck here: Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Irons, and John Cleese, and unfortunately, they don't really elevate the material, they just play along with it.  Emily Mortimer is a delight as Clouseau's colleague and secret love interest, and it's nice to see Lily Tomlin paired up with Martin again after All of Me, but I didn't laugh once.  At least the first Martin Pink Panther movie had that one hysterical scene where Clouseau tries to pronounce "hamburger."  They try to repeat that scene multiple times here, but it's not quite as funny the second time around.  Pink Panther 2 is not a chore to sit through, but it's a far cry from Peter Sellers.  Martin co-wrote the script, but instead of spending time on pointless sequels like this, he should apply his singular comedic voice to a more worthy project. 



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