The Pink Panther 2 – Still a long way from being a “comedy”
Out in the cinemas at the moment is a film starring some fairly respectable names. These include: John Cleese, Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Jean Reno, Geoffrey Palmer, Jeremy Irons, Lily Tomlin, Emily Mortimer and Steve Martin. You’d think then that with the comedy edge clearly covered with Martin, Cleese & Tomlin and the drama covered by Palmer, Reno, Mortimer and Molina you’d end up with a near perfect film.
Sadly it seems if you put a range of fairly respectable entertainers in the same room, you get a film only slightly better than its predecessor but still complete and utter pap!
Inspector Jacques Clouseau teams up with a squad of International detectives who are just as bumbling as he is. Their mission: Stop a globe-trotting thief who specializes in stealing historical artefacts.
The Pink Panther 2’s first mistake is that it loses Kevin Kline (one of the few good things from Pink Panther) and replaces him with John Cleese as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. This is a great shame as I could only see Kevin Kline getting more and more weary with Clouseau and getting angrier and angrier as the investable sequels go by (making him more and more amusing). John Cleese’s Dreyfus is not acting at all. In fact he throws away all attempts at pretending to be French and insists on speaking in an upper class English accent. Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Cleese when he gets going but I hate the fact that a better actor was found and replaced with someone who looked like he didn’t want to be there. I don’t care if Kevin Kline didn’t want to return! He should have been paid more than Martin and begged for another chance!
Introduced into this unnecessary and annoying sequel is that of the Dream Team which includes Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) and Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven). This is one of the saving graces of the new film as Molina and Martin battling out their investigative skills is admittedly amusing.
Jean Reno (as before) is wasted in an assistant role and I continue to feel that he would be better playing Clouseau than Martin. He manages to be amusing whilst using less words; something that Peter Sellers (the original Clouseau) was good at. Steve Martin NEEDS to keep speaking on camera as if filling the film up with needless laugh-less dialogue is an attempt to offer people their money’s worth.
Unfortunately I still left the building with a sense of being cheated. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t expect wonders from the sequel to one of my all-hated films. However it is still listed as a “comedy”. I went to see a comedy and intended to laugh. Despite having a few chuckles midway through I still felt the overwhelming need to ring up Childline and claim I have been abused by an old man with a dodgy moustache!
Someone needs to start paying attention to opinions along the way. It feels as if these studios are not interested in improving the stories that get told. The critical failure of The Pink Panther should at least give people an idea of what is wrong with the setup and after reading many reviews there is clearly one individual responsible for this. Steve Martin is not (and will never be) Inspector Clouseau. He is embarrassingly bad throughout and manages a laugh only a small percentage of the time. I’m aware that by starting a sequel with a new actor in place of Clouseau would be bold but it could not be worse than losing Kevin Kline from the last film.
For me, watching the original Pink Panther films (although not always hilarious) were good entertainment. The best of this entertainment was of course Kato and his unexpected attacks on Clouseau when he returned home. Losing Kato in these new remakes is a big mistake and despite trying to replace him in a few scenes, it was chosen to replace the quite brilliant Burt Kwouk with children. So they took a brilliant set up of a scene and ruined it with bratty kids. Bring back Kato!
The fact is I didn’t despise Pink Panther 2 more than the last incarnation. That wasn’t really difficult as I didn’t despise my last attempt at cooking a lasagne than the previous one………but it still tasted of crap! I would still rather attempt self-harming of the webbed parts of my fingers with A4 paper than watch it again.
If we are to suffer another sequel to this damn series can Steve Martin please refrain from talking all the time and bring back Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin and Alfred Molina. However until the character of Kato returns I will be destined to despise this series with a passion….and I still want my money back!
Rating: 1.5 out of 5