Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pink Panther 2

I grew up loving Steve Martin. I wanted to be a "wild and crazy guy." I think I even had one of those arrow-through-the-head props. I also grew up watching Peter Sellers in the original Pink Panthermovies. So I admit I was predisposed to enjoy this movie.

It's been a long time since I've seen Peter Sellers's Pink Panther
movies, but it seems to me that Steve Martin has remained faithful to the spirit of those classics. His physical comedy, while probably a bit over the top compared to Sellers, definitely fits the role. He also includes plenty of the linguistic humor. I remember Sellers trying to ask the hotel clerk if he had a "message" but the clerk kept trying to tell him where he could get a "massage." In Pink Panther 2, the security password in John Cleese's office is "hamburger" but for some reason only Martin's garbled French-ish pronunciation counts.

In another fun nod to the original, Clouseau is attacked in his own apartment. Only this time it's not his manservant, but the twin sons of his colleague, Ponton (Jean Reno), who attack him with their karate moves. Oh, and I loved when Clouseau, showing off his gadgets, pulled out what looked like a micro cassette recorder. It may look like a recorder, but it is, in fact, a pen!

After a string of robberies of high-profile artifacts, an international crime-solving "dream team" is formed. Of course it includes Inpector Clouseau. Then the unthinkable happens: the Pink Panther diamond is stolen in Paris! By ignoring the obvious and stumbling around, Clouseau manages to get to the bottom of the case.

Highlights include Clouseau's sessions with Mrs. Berenger (Lily Tomlin) who tries to purge him of his sexism, racism, and political incorrectness; Clouseau's exploration at Avellaneda's house while the rest of the dream team tries to draw Avellaneda's attention away from the security cameras; and of course his destruction of the restaurant, followed by an encore on the night of the grand re-opening.

Pink Panther 2 tells a fun story, but more than that it's just laugh-out-loud fun. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Bottom line: 3 stars.

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