'Pink Panther 2' could use a fresh litter box

Steve Martin brings few laughs to second turn as Clouseau.

February 6, 2009 

"The Pink Panther 2," as the French might say it, is deux deux.

This is not as much a movie as a mugging. It is a blatant attempt to milk a few dollars out of a popular film series with a remake that has about as many laughs as the funeral scene in "Marley & Me." Come to think about it, this dog dies too.

What passes for a plot has Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin) heading a group of elite detectives. They have come together to solve a series of crimes committed by The Tornado.

Martin successfully destroys the last vestiges of a brilliant comedy career with his asinine take on the role that was so lovingly brought to life by Peter Sellers. Martin's idea of playing the bumbling French detective is to mumble in faux French and stumble through a few lame sight gags.

Martin is not alone in sinking his career. Just when it seemed like Alfred Molina had gotten past the stink of being in "Dudley Do-Right," he plows into another dung pile of a role.

It is not bad enough that Molina is reduced to wearing a pink tutu in the vain effort to get a laugh. He telegraphs the joke repeatedly throughout the movie.

Then there is Jeremy Irons. This guy won an Oscar. And yet he shows up for a small role as one of the bad guys. It might have helped if someone had told Irons this was a comedy. He plays the role as if he was starring in "Macbeth."

Then again, Irons probably read the script and assumed it was a drama since there were no jokes.

Even Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who could very well be the most beautiful woman in films, is not enough distraction.

In her defense, this movie could have had an atomic bomb blast and it would not have been able to mask all of the problems.

It took three writers -- Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber and Martin -- to create a script that is little more than bad recycled material.

Who actually thinks Martin saying "hamburger" is that hilarious?

The trio wasn't even smart enough to keep the plot straight.

There's a point where the detectives are talking about how they were able to recover three of four stolen objects. There were five stolen items.

Remembering five should have been easy. That's four more than the number of laughs in this movie.

The only good thing that can be said about "The Pink Panther 2" is that even with the economy in the toilet, people losing their jobs and businesses closing, nothing will ever be as bad as this movie.

The reporter can be reached at rbentley@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6355.

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