Insp. 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 artifacts.
The second installment of the Steve Martin Pink Panther series (and yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be more...) has done something quite priceless, just like the fabled gem the bumbling Inspector Clouseau guards.
Director Harald Zwart has tapped into the feel of the original Blake Edwards films starring Peter Sellers, and created a fun, retro tribute that nonetheless stands on its own as a pretty hilarious film.
It might not be to everyone's tastes, especially to audiences that have grown up on a more haphazard and unformed kind of comedy. This is not gross-out humor, and doesn't rely on star recognition. It's comedy that comes right out of the European tradition with a little English tongue-in-cheek bizarreness and the meticulous attention to detail of French comic films.
Every joke is choreographed, and every look has meaning. This is a film in which you can see some of the world's finest comic actors at the top of their game.
Anyone who has seen Andy Garcia in the Oceans movies knows he's got a great facility for comedy, and both he and Alfred Molina get a chance to strut their stuff as part of the investigative "Dream Team" assigned to capture the infamous Tornado who's making off with the world's greatest treasures.
There's no one like John Cleese for deadpan angst, and he's hilarious as Clouseau's long suffering boss Dreyfuss.
Pink Panther 2 keeps you laughing more than most comedies, and has some really terrific funny sequences and running jokes. But just like the best funny movies, it really has something bigger than getting a laugh at its heart.
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While it never sinks into maudlin sentiment, the movie is also just a little bit romantic. The relationship between Clouseau and his faithful assistant Nicole hovers between sweet and ridiculous, which makes every one of the their interactions as charming as they are fraught with silliness.
The music is great; besides getting various takes on the classic Mancini Pink Panther theme, composer Christopher Beck has found a way to underscore the film that is energetic and feeds the retro spirit.
If you're as tired as I am of the spate of idiot child-man comedies of the last few years out of Hollywood, this is the antidote - a classic comedy with a generous heart and lots of laughs.