The Pink Panther 2
Cast: Steve Martin, Emily Mortimer
Direction: Harald Zwart
Where are you, Peter Sellers? We sorely miss the late comedian who incarnated the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in several vintage capers during the 1960s and ’70s.
The farcical franchise was re-vamped in 2006 with Steve Martin taking over Sellers’ trademark role, only to evoke limited box office success. Nevertheless, Mr Martin gets a second short at portraying the French detective. Merde!
New ideas, situations or stylistic flourishes are conspicuous by their absence in The Pink Panther 2. A mirthless hack job, there’s much ado here about the theft of priceless artefacts from world museums. Entrez Clouseau. Assigned to lead a team of international investigators (Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, all wasted), the former traffic cop relies on pratfalls and sloppy slapstick to unmask the dreaded criminal.
There are far too many sub-plots like the ones involving a chaste secretary (Mortimer), an insufferable chief of police (John Cleese) and even a ‘political correctness’ instructor (Lily Tomlin). Also, our own Aishwarya Rai Bachchan fetches up as a duplicitous criminologist. She joins a long list of exotic actresses including Claudia Cardinale, Capucine and Elke Sommer who have graced the series in blink-and-miss cameos.
A couple of scenes, like the breathless juggling with wine bottles, are funny enough. Otherwise, this one’s strictly for those with a bout of Pink Pantherities.