Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Pink Panther 2 (2009)

Following on from the 2006 movie, obviously enough, Steve Martin returns to the character of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in this amusing sequel that I think is just as good as the previous movie. Be warned, however, that I seem to be the only person who thinks this way. Most other people would like to take both films and burn them on a small pyre before returning to their happy place with some help from the classic films starring Peter Sellers.

This time around, a number of audacious thefts have been committed by The Tornado, a legend in the criminal world. Nobody knows who The Tornado is, but a dream team is assembled to put a stop to the crimewave. That dream team consists of Vicenzo (Andy Garcia), Pepperidge (Alfred Molina), Kenji (Yuki Matsuzaki) and Sonia (Aishwara Rai Bachchan). And Clouseau. When he's not busy driving Dreyfuss (played by John Cleese this time) up the wall, upsetting the lovely Nicole (Emily Mortimer) and sparring with his assistant, Ponton (Jean Reno), he's either showing how much of a calamity he is or, strangely enough, how sharp his mind can be.

A few people jumped ship in between the previous film and this one, which isn't ever a reassuring sign, but if you enjoyed the first film then I can't imagine you hating this one. Oh, you're unlikely to enjoy it as much as I did (so I have discovered), but there's plenty of fun to be had. The script, by Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber and Steve Martin, has plenty of decent lines peppered throughout and the direction by Harald Zwart is competent enough for something this lightweight.

The cast all look suitably worn down by Martin's chaotic character, with Andy Garcia especially good fun in his role and Aishwara Rai Bachchan having fun as the distractingly beautiful member of the team who is also an expert on The Tornado. John Cleese is okay as Dreyfuss, though he never seems quite as exasperated as Kevin Kline did in the previous movie (who never seemed quite as exasperated as Herbert Lom, the actor most associated with the role). Martin, Reno and Mortimer are all very good, and the supporting cast includes Jeremy Irons, onscreen for just a few minutes, and Lily Tomlin, playing someone who tries to help Clouseau adjust his attitude to women and people from other nations.

There's no denying that this is Steve Martin wayyyyyyyyy past his prime, coasting along and working with material that's often beneath him, but I still find it enjoyable and entertaining. Part of that will undoubtedly be down to just how highly I think of Martin. But part of it might be, just MIGHT be, down to the fact that the film isn't actually as bad as most people make out.


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