Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Jeremy Irons, Lily Tomlin, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina and Aishwariya Rai Bachchan.? A movie with these many sparkling marquee names should be at the very minimum, tolerably engaging.? You should want to keep watching just to see how these talents play against each other.? But director Harald Zwart can?t even manage that.? Pink Panther 2, which has Martin recreating the Inspector Clousseau role immortalised by Peter Sellers, is an unmitigated bore.
The movie begins with a series of heists. A daring thief known only as The Tornado, is whizzing around the planet, stealing choice goodies such as the Magna Carta, the Shroud of Turin and the Imperial Sword of Japan.?
A dream team of international detectives is put together to find this master criminal.?The team, led by Inspector Clousseau, bumbles along from Paris to the Vatican City where the Pope?s ring is stolen off his finger as he sleeps.?
Of course nothing is quite what it seems.?
After many disasters, including burning down the same restaurant twice, Clousseau, now disgraced and taken off the dream team, single-handedly solves the crimes.
Pink Panther 2 has a shoddy script that relies largely on broad, slapstick comedy and sight gags.? After the first 15 minutes, watching Martin as a destructive force of nature, ceases to be amusing.? Martin is a comic genius but he lacks the inspired lunacy that Sellers brought to the character.? Martin strains so hard for laughs that it soon becomes exhausting and a little sad to watch.
There has been much carping about the length of Aishwarya?s role in the film.? I happy to report that she isn?t under-utilised.? The trouble isn?t the length of the role, it?s the role itself.? At first, it?s thrilling to see an Indian name in this heavy-duty international cast but the leaden script, co-written by Martin himself, doesn?t allow anyone to shine.? The script doesn?t ask Aishwarya to be anything more than a vapid but alluring presence.?
The other actors don?t fare much better.? Jean Reno sleep walks through his scenes while Jeremy Irons just seems surprised to find himself in the frame.? The few laughs belong to Lily Tomlin who plays an etiquette expert trying to teach Closseau not to call a Japanese colleague my little yellow friend.
Pink Panther 2 is an opportunity lost.? If you are curious to see Aishwarya in an international project, I recommend that you wait for the DVD.