When the master thief, the Tornado, begins stealing expensive artifacts (the Magna Carta in London, the Turin Shroud in Turin, and the Imperial Sword in Kyoto), the Government of France assembles a Dream Team of Amateur Detectives to solve the case. Inspector Clouseau is reassigned from his task as a parking officer by Chief Inspector Dreyfus to join the Dream Team in Japan, site of the Tornado’s recent heist. At the airport, as soon as he is officially leaving France, news breaks that the Pink Panther Diamond has also been stolen. Clouseau travels back to the scene of the crime, where the other members of the Dream Team, Inspector Pepperidge (Great Britain), Vicenzo (Italy), Kenji (an electronics specialist from Japan), and Sonia (a researcher and criminology expert from India), are gathering. They go to Rome to investigate a black market fence, Alonso Avellaneda, who deals with The Tornado. Assuming he is The Tornado, the Dream Team question him while Clouseau snoops around. Avellaneda successfully vindicates himself by demonstrating that he lacks a bullet-wound to the right shoulder- the Tornado was shot in that shoulder during a theft over a decade ago. After they leave, Avellaneda meets with The Tornado himself.
Later on that night, Clouseau and his partner, Ponton, spy on Avellaneda, using a wire they have planted on him, as he takes a date out for dinner. Unfortunately, the mission is compromised when they find Vicenzo and Clouseau’s girlfriend, Nicole, together at the restaurant. Having been banned for burning down the restaurant three months earlier, Clouseau disguises himself as a dancer and attempts to switch the wire to Nicole’s table. In the process, he ends up burning down the restaurant again. At the same time, The Tornado steals the Pope’s ring, an act which begins to turn public opinion against the Dream Team. When Clouseau’s acts of foolishness aggravate the situation, he is voted off the team, with only Sonia sympathizing with him. Shortly afterward, Clouseau is called to an office where they see the Tornado has killed himself, and left a suicide note claiming he destroyed the Pink Panther- regarding it as being so beautiful that he could not bring anyone other than himself to own it- and left the other treasures to be recovered. Examining a key they found in the Pope’s Chambers, they successfully match the DNA of the victim with DNA of the Tornado acquired when he was shot, and thus believe themselves to have solved the case. However, Clouseau is unconvinced and believes the Tornado was not the thief.
For their victory in recovering the stolen items (minus the Pink Panther), a celebration is thrown in the Dream Team’s honor. Clouseau, who was not invited, tries to convince Dreyfus that the real thief is still at large, but is ignored. Dreyfus relays to the group that Clouseau told him Sonia was the thief, and the group, treating the idea as a joke, works out a plausible explanation for how she could have done it; as the Tornado’s ex-lover, she would have in-depth knowledge of his methods, and has set up a situation to draw all attention to the thefts of the other artifacts while leaving her free to sell on the Pink Panther as the only treasure that could be cut up and sold on without suspicion. As Sonia tries to leave, Nicole asks her to take everything out of her purse. Sonia pulls out a gun, and after initially threatening to shoot Nicole, she shoots Clouseau, but the bullet ricochets off the medal of honor and kills the waiter instead. She then runs upstairs. Clouseau and the rest of the Dream Team chase her all around the building, while they all—except for Clouseau—make fools of themselves. Finally cornered, Sonia threatens to destroy the Pink Panther, and Clouseau successfully goads her to do so. Clouseau reveals that she had destroyed a fake gem he had switched with the real one, and that the Tornado, a master thief and a recognized authority on valuable gems, would have recognized this; therefore, his suicide note—where he praised the beauty of the gem—was forged and he was actually murdered. He reveals that he had given Sonia’s car a ticket two days before the Pink Panther was stolen, contradicting her alibi of having been delayed to the crime scene because of her flight. Dreyfus tries to claim credit for having appointed Clouseau to his parking job, but Clouseau, remembering Dreyfus told him to deny this to anyone who asked, rebukes the claim. Clouseau later marries Nicole, though the wedding is shortlived after Dreyfus fires the cork out of the Champaigne bottle onto a security device, causing Black Ops to storm the party in a manner similar to an eariler event in the film. Clouseau and Nicole ditch the wedding and head for the airport for their honeymoon with the animated Pink Panther watching them leave. The Pink Panther looks into the camera as he walks into the chaotic wedding and closes the door.
To this day still don’t understand what exactly the Pink Panther has to do with these movies, but I’ve always been a fan of him and his theme song, so any excuse to get exposure to both, I’ll take.
Steve Martin has been doing comedy do long, its like second nature to him. In the original films from the 60s and 70s, Inspector Clouseau was a bumbling idiot played by Peter Sellers, here Martin takes up the mantle (and a bad accent). As with all things Martin, there is plenty of physical comedy to go around. These classic Martin moments are what make this film so entertaining.
The Dream Team, comprosed of veteran actors Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, and newcomer Yuki Matsuzaki actually work well with Martin. I especially liked the first meeting between Molina and Martin. who would have veer thought Molina could do comedy?
What’s a good film without some beautiful ladies to throw in for good measure? The Pink Panther 2 has two, the lovable and cute Emily Mortimer and Aishwarya Rai, who has been called the most beautiful woman i nthe world (you can say she’s an upgrade from Beyonce in the first film, if you like). Mortimer reprises her role from the first film as Martin’s assistant who is still madly in love with him. She’s such a cutie, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. Rai is one of those women that can stop every man (and some women) in their tracks just with a look, let a lone waking into the room, but I had no idea she could act. Honestly, she’s not half bad.
Jean Reno, John Cleese, and Lily Tomlin, as well as a cameo from Jeremy Irons fill out the rest of the cast. Not a weak link to be found among them. As a matter of fact, Tomlin’s character plays off Martin’s idiocy so well that if there isa third film, she is mandatory for it, in my opinion.
The film starts off alot funnier than it finishes, but that seems to be the case with most comedies these days. At least it doesn’t lose the light hearted tone and get all serious on us, but rather it just loses some steam.
I read one review that wondered when Steve Martin stopped being funny. I’ve always found Martin funny. Yeah, this isn’t his funniest picture, but it’s still some fine work. do I think this film could have been better? Well, see, I’m not so sure. Maybe, but if you start messing with this and that, you’ll end up having to change the tone here, take out a key joke there, cut a character here, and these are what makes this film so good, so it’s hard to say if this could be any better, but rather just enjoy it for what it is, a good comedy that everyone can enjoy. There are so few of those these days.
4 out of 5 stars