All excess and extremes, with nuance as elusive as the Pink Panther diamond, 'The Pink Panther 2' slinks into theatre this week, as stealthily as a huge truck with a bad muffler.
Steve Martin, coming back for his second round as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, has also helped write the screenplay, along with Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, which could account for the fact, we find Clouseau virtually in every scene. Not necessarily bad, as Martin squeezes out whatever comedy the film has from his moment on the screen.
A series of short comedy sketches, haphazardly strung together, 'The Pink Panther 2' tries to masquerade as a movie, with film more like a party, with games and guests, all of who have been drinking way too much. There is no real plot in the film, it is just filled with Martin's friends, while the comedy is terribly over-played.
Catching up with Clouseau, we find him writing parking tickets across Paris by a still envious Chief Inspector Dreyfus, played by John Cleese, with his clipped, dry delivery, which is nearly flawless and always funny.
Meanwhile, there is a rash of robberies, Tornado, a mysterious thief has snatched the Magna Carta, the Shroud of Turin, the pope's ring, an ancient samurai sword and, of course, the famed Pink Panther diamond. A dream team of international sleuths assemble. Among others, we have Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, and India 's Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, known as much for her beauty as her talent in acting, as the girl you can't trust. It's Emily Mortimer, back as Nicole, Clouseau's girlfriend/assistant and Jean Reno as Ponton, his trusted sidekick. This time round, we also have Lily Tomlin, as a kind of political correctness officer, who clearly has a special case in Clouseau.
A cast full of seasoned veterans performing as they always perform i. e. perform well, but using a strategy that makes them seem desperate to raise a laugh, even if it means keep on throwing everything at the audience, till it laughs.
Oscar winning Jeremy Irons, one of the finest dramatic actors of the day, turns up in a slight role as an infamous French fence in puffy white shirt and riding pants, and we wonder why. Are no good roles coming his way? If, not, please send him some, it's wasting his tremendous talent in films like 'The Pink Panther 2'.
This 'Pink Panther' sequel doesn't offer much beyond relentless slapstick and a predictable script that cold have been filmed right off the cocktail napkin used to jot it down on!
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