REVIEW: The Pink Panther 2 [2009]

“An odd, sexy brother in a dress”

Hmmm. Does America really hate itself this much? I guess it does. I’ll start off by saying how I’m not much of a fan of Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther let alone watching Steve Martin laugh himself to the bank with a couple of remakes, (I did not see the first). But alas, I found myself in a theatre full of elderly people laughing and younger people walking out, (it was a free screening, I don’t much blame them), and I envied my two friends who both said they fell asleep. I unfortunately kept awake in order to sit through the—Inspector Clouseau had the perfect adjectives—drab and disgusting display on the big screen that is The Pink Panther 2. It was obvious from the beginning, overlong in the pacing and especially the repetitive beyond belief jokes, and just plain sad for the big name actors involved, many of whom I enjoy and some that I love—I’m talking to you Emily Mortimer. While others laughed, I found myself yawning with a delicate, slow moving pat of the mouth as though I was as stale as the script. Maybe my generation just can’t understand this type of film, but if that’s so, how could the first have warranted a sequel? We have the originals with a superstar in Sellers and yet we repackage for the youth of today? We need Hollywood to start taking control of the economy because they must be doing something right despite the utter absurdity of their decisions.

It all started okay—short, quick glimpses of priceless artifacts being stolen around the world. Maybe there’d be some seriousness to the comedy. Then came the obligatory look at the cartoon Pink Panther wreaking havoc in the opening credit sequence and the soon fun began. Ends up the stolen items were red herrings, only brought out to hopefully let us understand the importance of the pink panther diamond. You see: if that diamond could be spoken in the same breath as the Shroud of Turin, it must be quite the hot item. And who is sworn to protect it you might ask? Well the imbecilic French of course, (I’m sure France LOVES these films), headed by a Brit, for whatever reason, in John Cleese and the “hero” of the film, Martin’s bumbling Clouseau. We’ve seen this thing a million times—of course the idiot will idiotically stumble into solving the case; it’s just a matter of wading through the nonsense runtime padding until that fateful moment graces us with a conclusion. Hell, even the American “The Office” uses this device every week; no wonder it is a water-downed facsimile of the British original.

What does that padding consist of though? Credible guys like Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, and, why oh why did he do it, Jeremy Irons joining the ranks of hammy ex-serious actors like Andy Garcia and Lily Tomlin to make faces and fill the frame with reaction after reaction shot of Martin’s shenanigans. If the film is good for anything it is using Aishwarya Rai’s sexuality and introducing me to Yuki Matsuzaki who entertains for the most part. Otherwise it is all excruciatingly painful to watch, mostly for the fact that you realize how little you make a year and how much they all made for doing practically no work on a film that will be thrown away after opening weekend and probably given a third installment.

I really feel bad having very little in the way of backhanded praise for this film. I realize the amount of time and work put in, yet can’t help but think of how many other more important things that time could have been spent on. When you have to sit through a ten minute exchange between Martin and Tomlin of him checking out an attractive girl in the hall, her calling him out, him denying it, her not believing, and then him looking again—repeat … three more times, you know that hell has arrived on earth. On top of that come lines like “But I can’t fly!!” and an impromptu sing-along manifested from a shampoo name, JoJoBa pronounced HoHoBa; you can imagine the worried looks to watches wondering how much longer it could go on. Yet there was laughter! I can’t fathom it either. People ate some of this stuff up like it was the most hilarious thing they’ve seen since The Pink Panther 1. I guess I’m just out of touch, or else just way too cynical and jaded. Either way, if you are like me, stay far, far away at all costs.

The Pink Panther 2 2/10 | ★

photography:
[1] Steve Martin stars in MGM Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ comedy THE PINK PANTHER 2.
[2] Steve Martin, Andy Garcia and Jean Reno star in MGM Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ comedy THE PINK PANTHER 2.
©2009 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Comments
One Response to “REVIEW: The Pink Panther 2 [2009]”
  1. KJL says:

    Jared, you’re not out of touch. As a matter of fact, you are dead on. Steve Martin is out of touch. I totally agree with your post. This new PP series is a train wreck. However to be fair, I haven’t seen it. Just the first one (saw it free on a plane trip). But, I’m assuming it’s basically the same over the top comedy. What happened to Steve Martin? The Jerk, Planes Trains, even Parenthood got me laughing. When did he lower his standards? You could throw Chevy Chase in the same basket. Very disappointing.

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