Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Pink Panther 2

I've Got It!

I think it's time to shelve comparisons of Peter Sellers iconic take of Inspector Jacques Clouseau with that of Steve Martin's. Take it like a total reboot, not necessarily for the better of course, since the franchise thus far has taken Clouseau into more slapstick, as well as quite surprisingly, turning him into both a sexist and a racist, excuses being he's a total nincompoop.

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber's story makes no apologies in being offensive and politically incorrect, and taking Jacques Clouseau in the same direction of distaste deliberately, so that some non-witty exchange could take place between Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin, who plays the etiquette officer locking horns with Clouseau to try and rehabilitate his crude mannerisms. Some jokes too get repackaged and recycled in a different form, carrying over one hamburger joke too many left over from the first Martin-Pink Panther movie in 2006.

In fact, not only does that get brought over, but the entire plot involving international heists committed by the mysterious Tornado, unfortunately had a similar Eureka moment to 2006's, proving that lightning does get to strike twice in a plot that feels right at home to a Scooby Doo cartoon. Given renowned and valuable artifacts being stolen from their exhibition home, including The Pink Panther diamond, an international Dream Team of detectives get assembled to solve the crime, headed none other than Clouseau himself, based on his past conquest in retrieving the diamond.

So with that comes an opportunity to put an international ensemble cast together, which actually seemed a good idea, if not for an average story involving love triangles against a backdrop of crime-solving which breezed through quite quickly. Returning are John Cleese (well, since Bond didn't requier a quartermaster for fancy gadgets, he's got to look for a job, right?), Jean Reno as Ponton the Watson to Clouseau's Holmes, and Emily Mortimer as Clouseau's secretary Nicole with whom we learn they share plenty of personal romantic time together in a restaurant scene that played on too long.

Joining them are Andy Garcia playing Vicenzo from Italy, who tussles with Clouseau as head of the Team as well as for Nicole's heart (note that Don Corleone reference), Alfred Molina as Pepperidge from England, possessing acute powers of deduction rivaled only by Clouseau, Yuki Matsuzaki as Kenji from Japan, a computer whiz, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Sonia, the resident expert for her study on Tornado. And if that's not enough, throw in Jeremy Irons too.

Quite an ensemble you'd notice, to want to come together to make a comedy like this. Thankfully, some of the film's limited funnier moments weren't revealed in the trailer, which had made some sequence of events less funny that they are in proper context. A largely forgetable film, if not for the memorable opening credits animation with Harry Mancini's Pink Panther theme, which is possible the best sequence throughout the whole movie. A few good laughs, but that's it, and I won't be surprised if this can have the legs to continue for one more film.

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