I’ll be among the first to admit that I’m a huge fan of Steve Martin. His intelligent, yet zany gift for acting, comedy, and slapstick makes him unique. I’ll also be the first to admit that the first Pink Panther (2006) wasn’t that great a film. It had its moments, but never really worked for me.
Pink Panther 2 picks up a while after the first movie ends. Chief Inspector Dreyfus (played beautifully by John Cleese) has assigned Jacque Clouseau (Steve Martin) to serving parking tickets. Since Clouseau stole the credit for saving the Pink Panther diamond from Dreyfus, the Chief Inspector has worked hard to keep the bumbling Inspector out of his way. Unfortunately, Clouseau is requested to become part of a “Dream Team” of international detectives working to stop a series of high profile thefts around the world by a thief known as “The Tornado.”
To find these artifacts (including the Magna Carta, the Shroud of Turin, and an ancient Samurai sword as well as the Pope’s ring and the Pink Panther diamond), the Dream Team investigates the site of the most recent theft of the diamond and begin piecing together what The Tornado is up to. Inspector Vicenzo (Andy Garcia) from Italy, Chief Inspector Randall Pepperidge (Alfred Molina) from New Scotland Yard, Kenji Mazumoto (Yuki Matsuzaki) from Japan, and Sonia Solandres (Aishwarya Rai), a biographer of The Tornado, work with Clouseau to solve the case. Of course, it’s not that simple. Clouseau manages to bumble his way through crime scenes, interviews, press encounters, and so on, but eventually the case is solved.
Along the way we encounter Mrs. Berenger (the always amazing Lily Tomlin), who acts as the politically correctness advisor for the French Police. She and Clouseau have some highly amusing scenes where we learn more of the Inspector’s ways of looking at the world, including one scene about sexual harassment which is hilarious and another about racial discrimination. Tomlin and Martin haven’t worked together since 1984’s All of Me, and the give and take relationship between them is still apparent.
We also see more of the relationship between Clouseau and Nicole Durant (Emily Mortimer). The flashback scene between the two at a restaurant in Rome includes one of the most amazing bits of slapstick and comic timing that I have seen in a very long time. As Clouseau attempts to pick out a wine for their dinner date, he bumps into the wine rack and bottles begin falling. Martin manages to juggle the bottles to the waiters in the restaurants as they fall, and does so with Clouseau style. That scene appears fairly early in the film and kept me watching to the end.
Overall, I think Pink Panther 2 was a much funnier film than the first one. The interactions between the actors – Garcia, Molina, Matsuzaki, and Rai – with Martin were always well done. You could tell the cast had a great time working together as an ensemble. And seeing Tomlin and Martin together again was a thrill.
In addition to the movie itself, the DVD includes three features…
The “Gag Reel” is a great collection of gaffes and mistakes from the filming. The camaraderie was readily apparent between all the cast and crew. And who wouldn’t have fun working with these great actors?
“Drama is Easy… Comedy is Dangerous” focused on the many comedic stunts in the film. Martin still has a gift for physical comedy that in my mind is rivaled only by John Cleese, who was also in the film. The directors and producers spoke about the difficulty of having a film more physically demanding.
And in “A Dream Team Like No Other”, we get to hear from more of the cast about working together. This is an amazing group of talented professionals and it’s great to hear from each of them — Martin, Reno, Mortimer, Molina, Garcia, Matsuzaki, and Rai.
All in all, I have to say I really enjoyed Pink Panther 2 and look forward to seeing what happens if there are more Pink Panther films. Though this movie didn’t do well at the box office, I think it will do well on DVD. Be sure to pick up a copy at your local rental store or retailer.
p.s. Click here to pick up The Pink Panther and other goodies from Amazon!
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