Pink Panther 2 Directed by: Harald Zwart Cast: Steve Martin, Emily Mortimer, Jean Reno, Andy Garcia Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: PG
Plot: Inspector Closeau (Martin) works with a team of top-notch investigators to catch an elusive thief called The Tornado.
Who’s It For? Younger families should be a little cautious with some material, as sprinkles of racist, sexist, and sacrilegious jokes will either fly over the heads of kids or stick awkwardly.
Expectations: From its announcement, Pink Panther 2 seemed like a sequel motivated less by fans and more by finance. Still, Martin is a brilliant clown. Maybe for ninety minutes he can distract the audience from realizing the film's real objective.
Steve Martin as Inspector Closeau: Even in something less pertinent to his career, Steve Martin is committed to his klutziness. This is a respectable trait, but it still doesn't make the produced humor entirely successful. Martin is amusing, but there's no doubt that Closeau is not one of his better Jerk characters. Score: 6
Emily Mortimer as Nicole Durant: Like everyone else involved with this film, the seemingly intelligent Mortimer can manage Panther's proud dumbness. She isn't given much credit outside of being Closeau's unattached love interest, but at the least her French accent makes her a bit more adorable. Score: 5
Jean Reno as Ponton: As a friend of Closeau, he does pretty much nothing. In the past, Reno has played some token characters. But rarely is he essentially useless. Score: 2
Andy Garcia as Vincenzo: Though the investigative "Dream Team" includes Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Garcia is the member most focused on. His "affair" with Nicole makes for a tedious sub-story, which doesn't help when considering his character is already obnoxious from stereotypes. Score: 3
Talking: The various accents aren't too shoddy, probably because a fair amount of the actors are ethnically authentic to their characters. The worst offender may be Martin's French voice, which may be found as too dumbed down and stereotypical for some. Score: 4
Sights: Many French landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame) are in sight. The end credits say the film was also shot in Boston, which must've been the scenes in the "interiors" of the Vatican. Throughout, Pink Panther 2 has a fair amount of familiar faces, but some cameos are so random they can not be explained, but just accepted (Jeremy Irons?). Score: 5
Sounds: Henry Mancini's iconic theme is in place, still as fresh as it was in the franchise's very first movie. This film's fun is not weighed down by the gratuitous presence of a pop song like with Beyonce's "Check Up On It" from the "first" Pink Panther. Score: 5
To the writers' credit, (Martin being one of them), Pink Panther 2 is not a 100% formulaic waste. The movie's shameless existence is surprisingly credited by somewhat amusing gags of mindless goofiness. It's all very breezy, but not entirely the kind of wind that is meant to dismiss.
In the end, Steve Martin makes a deal with Pink Panther 2: he stumbles and destroys in scattered moments of genuine amusement, but before his idiocy becomes too tired or too much, the film is over. Not bad.
Final Score: 5/10