A Review By Jason L. King
Starring: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Jeremy Irons, John Cleese
Directed by: Harold Zwart
Movie Released: 2009
Steve Martin has stepped into the role of the goofiest inspector in France with ease. The reigns of The Pink Panther franchise were turned over to Martin in 2006 which spawned a sequel in 2009. Is this Martin at the top of his game? Probably not but it is still a movie that is a lot of fun.
In the Pink Panther 2 Inspector Clouseau must team up with “The Dream Team” of the world’s finest detectives to find the famed thief, The Tornado, who has stolen fine artifacts from around the world including the famous Pink Panther diamond.
This film sports a colorful collection of name actors including Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Irons, John Cleese and the the list goes on. Each of them add their own bit of flair to their roles that makes the film fun to watch. I really enjoyed the fact that despite Garcia and Molina’s characters being from different countries they are as simple minded as Clouseau in many ways and sort of stumble upon the truth by dumb luck.
What I enjoy about these films is the slapstick, stupidity of the films. The films are meant to be extremely dumb and I think Martin is able to pull of slapstick very, very well. Martin takes his fill of slips, trips and falls throughout the duration of the film and gives you some good laughs at the sheer stupidity of the situations he finds himself in. Mix his physical antics with his bad french accent and his inability to pronounce words like “Hamburger” and the film will have you chuckling.
What I enjoy about the character is that someone so simple minded at some points in the film, can see the big picture at the end and piece it together. In this film, there is a very fun sequence where he is questioning the pope about having his ring stolen. In the scene he accuses the pope of stealing his own ring and selling it so he could buy a big mansion to live in for the rest of his life. After accusing the pope of theft, he dresses like him and goes out onto the balcony to recreate the crime and falls off the balcony, witnessed by thousands of concerned onlookers who believe he is the pope. And if that doesn’t trip your trigger, there is a battle of wits and deduction between Clouseau and a fellow dream team inspector (played by Alfred Molina).
One of the places where the film does go stale is the battle sequences. In the first film he is constantly trying to surprise his partner with karate moves. In this film, he is battling his partner’s two young boys. There is a 5 minute karate battle sequence that just keeps going and going on but isn’t really that funny. There is also a painful Mexican dance sequence that takes place in a restaurant that could have been trimmed down some as well.
The thing that really saddened me about the film was that there were a few sequences with some sexual references and plenty of racist epitaphs that kept this from being a full fledged very family friendly film. Keep in mind though, these are PG rated references and the Clouseau character is reprimanded for his intolerance but they are still there. The sequences are a double edged sword. On one hand, they are offensive at times but on the other hand one could look at it as a lesson inside of the film. Clouseau is told he is intolerant and he has people throughout the movie teaching him that people from all different cultures, races and gender can bring something different to the table.
All in all, I enjoyed The Pink Panther 2. If you liked the 1st, you’ll like the 2nd. If you haven’t seen the 1st you don’t need to see it to see the 2nd. Is it Steve Martin’s greatest performance? Of course not. I think “The Jerk” is easily Martin’s best work. The Pink Panther films are just some fun, family comedy films that are worth checking out.