Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie Review: The Pink Panther 2 (2009)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some decent laughs and fine acting
Cons: Predictable plots; could have been funnier
The Bottom Line:
Not a bad movie
But not worth much more than time
So catch it cheaply

The Clueless Clouseau Strikes Again

You can count on one thing in Hollywood, if it makes money, there will be a sequel.  That's how we get The Pink Panther 2, a sequel to the Steve Martin lead remake from a couple years back.  As with most sequels, it is more of the same, only not quite as good.

The world's most priceless artifacts are being stolen, and an international dream team of detectives is being put together to track down the thief.  Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin) has been asked to lead the group, much to the dismay of Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese).  But Clouseau's top concern is the Pink Panther Diamond.  Sure enough, Clouseau has just left the country when the diamond is stolen.

All the thefts are the work of The Tornado, a thief who stopped a string of robberies ten years ago.  Why did he come out of retirement?  Who is he?  And will Clouseau get a clue and solve the case?

I had been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the earlier movie, so I was looking forward to this one.  Maybe my memory of the old one isn't quite accurate, but this one didn't seem nearly as funny.  Yes, there were some funny moments, but they didn't last nearly as long or make me laugh nearly as much.  In fact, the best moments were in the previews for the film.

The plot of the film wasn't anything spectacular either.  I had the main plot figured out as soon as the movie started.  I kept waiting for something to prove me wrong, but it never came.  The multiple sub-plots involving Clouseau and his assistant Ponton's (Jean Reno) love lives was equally predictable.  I wouldn't have minded as much if the movie had been funnier.

The acting was certainly fine.  Steve Martin kept it all together quite well as Clouseau, going just over the top enough to be funny without being so over the top we didn't believe him.  The dream team is made up of Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, and Yuki Matsuzaki, who not only provide a laugh or two on their own but make great straight men.  Also admirable in the role of straight man in Jean Reno.  But the women really make the movie.  Aishwarya Rai is stunning as the chief expert on The Tornado.  Emily Mortimer is appropriately cute as the love interest.  But some of the best scenes involve Lily Tomlin as Mrs. Berenger, a woman the department hired to set a more politically correct tone.

My biggest complaint with the first movie was the over abundance of sexual humor.  There is some of that here, mostly near the beginning, but it is toned way down overall.  Still, parents might want to take that into consideration.

The Pink Panther 2 has its moments, but it doesn't capture the same comic energy of the first one.  This is a movie you can wait to rent or see on TV.

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