A work of slapsticky, accent-y gar-bage, The Pink Panther 2 is so brainlessly uninventive that it actually seems determined to sully the legacy of Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers’s original series. Directed by Harald Zwart, he of One Night at McCool’s and Agent Cody Banks fame (not to mention the upcoming Karate Kid remake!), this needless sequel to 2006’s unnecessary remake once again revolves around the antics of Steve Martin’s Inspector Clouseau, who unlike his bumbling-but-droll, clueless-but-humane Sellers incarnation, is just a fool with exaggerated pronunciations and the pratfalls to match. Martin can be a gifted physical comedian but you wouldn’t know it from the gags given to him by Zwart, whose every set piece is monotonous and one-dimensional, exhibiting none of the light touch that characterized Edwards’s films, in which trips, spills, and crashes were delicately strung together to create a mounting level of clownish humor. In this latest misadventure, Clouseau is recruited to lead an international sleuthing “dream team”—featuring investigators from Japan (Yuki Matsuzaki), Italy (Andy Garcia), and England (Alfred Molina)—that’s been assembled to thwart a thief known as the Tornado who’s stolen priceless artifacts from each country (including, naturally, France’s Pink Panther diamond). Given that they only require the cast to speak in stereotypical national accents and do an occasional graceless belly flop, Zwart’s humorless set pieces manage to definitively waste this bevy of talent, which also consists of Jean Reno as Clouseau’s partner, Emily Mortimer as his love interest, John Cleese as his exasperated Chief Inspector Dreyfus (sans any attempt to sound French), Lilly Tomlin as a colleague who attempts to right his politically incorrect behavior, and Jeremy Irons—in what may be a career low point—as a throwaway red herring. It’s Martin’s unwillingness to trade in subtlety, however, that’s the chief culprit behind this sequel’s terribleness, the star so broadly, childishly mugging (for an apparent target audience of 10-year-olds) that he makes Clouseau not a charming buffoon but merely an excruciating sub-cartoon character who wouldn’t be allowed on the premises of the Loony Tunes lot.
- Columbia Pictures
- 92 min
- Harald Zwart
- Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Steve Martin
- Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, John Cleese, Lily Tomlin, Jeremy Irons
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