From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Pink Panther 2 - C-

Rated PG for some suggestive humor, brief mild language and action, 92 minutes

Dull, uninspired and unecessary "Pink Panther 2"

To be honest, I'm not sure what inspired the makers of "The Pink Panther 2" to make a sequel to the 2006 remake of the original "The Pink Panther," which was one of the unfunniest films of the decade. "The Pink Panther 2" is just as bad as the original remake, dull, uninspired and unoriginal. It makes you long for the vintage "Pink Panther" films starred the comically inspired Peter Sellers as bumbling Inspector Clouseau. That's not to say that Steve Martin isn't funny, as a matter of fact he's a very intelligent and quite funny comedian, but even someone like Martin can't touch Sellers' brilliance.

The Pink Panther diamond, along with several other treasured items, including the Shroud of Turin and the Magna Carta, are stolen by a highly sought after thief named The Tornado. An international "dream team" of the best detectives in the world are assembled, including one from Italy (Andy Garcia), one from Britain (Alfred Molina), Japan (Yuki Matsuzaki) and of course Inspector Clouseau from France (Martin), along with his assistants Ponton (Jean Reno) and Nicole (Emily Mortimer). It's up to the "dream team" to get all the items back and solve the case, clearly led by the "best detective in the world," Clouseau, who has an unconventional way of getting to the bottom of things.

What's amazing, even surprising about this version of "Pink Panther" is the remarkable, talented cast that's been assembled - including Martin, John Cleese, Andy Garcia, Emily Mortimer, Jean Reno, even Lily Tomlin gets into the act this time. Even more surprising is how flat it all is, especially given Martin's work as a comedian, and the fact that he co-wrote the script. Martin is wrong for the part, given that he plays it very, very broadly and physically, unlike the subtle charms of Peter Sellers' original version.

There are a couple of mildly amusing scenes, including one with Clouseau dressed as the Pope. But much of the rest of it, and it's packed with many comic scenes, fall flat and unfunny, with set ups that are as bad as Martin's fake French accent (When Clouseau goes to pick up a large fire hose to put out a fire - what do you think will happen? That's exactly right). Especially unfunny are the scenes with two little boys doing karate chops. Ugh.

However, there are a couple of noteworthy cast members in "Pink Panther 2," including Tomlin as a Mrs. Manners type assigned to help Clouseau be less offensive. It reminds of Tomlin and Martin's inspired work together 25 years ago in "All of Me," a flawed but very funny work compared to the flat material they're given here. Lavishly beautiful Indian actress Aishwarya Rai is a treasure to behold, at least something worthy to look at here.

Other than that, there's very little that's memorable - even a cameo from Jeremy Irons can't save the dreadful comedy that tries so hard in "Pink Panther 2." It's also unfortunate that such a talented, expansive cast and beautiful sets are really just put to waste, which is what the movie itself is, a big waste of time. Don't bother - watch the original Peter Sellers version and you'll be far better off than this mess.