Director: Harald Zwart
Cast: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Storyline: Inspector Clouseau heads a Dream Team formed to nab a thief who steals historical artifacts
Bottomline: More silly than funny, certainly not for purists/fans of the original.
I am a fan of the silly comedy genre. I think Austin Powers kicks it more than James Bond and also believe that Steve Martin’s stupid French accent alone is funny enough to merit a franchise.
But the best inside joke of the film comes from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan when she introduces herself, a good 25 minutes into the film: “Sorry, I am late. The flight was delayed by two hours. You must be Pink Panther, the famous detective. I will not be of much use here.”
Ha ha ha ha!
Classic Rai, if you have attended any press conference of hers. Walks in two hours late and blames the flight but surprisingly here, the lady has the cheek to laugh at herself, candid enough to admit she would be of no use in an ensemble like this one.
Bad make-up aside, she does come across a stunner at least for a couple of scenes – especially, the bit when she sits cross-legged with a short formal skirt with a slit, opposite Inspector Clouseau inside the flight with make-up glittering off her bust.
But that’s about all the nice things we can say about her. She imports the Bollywood brand of facial contortions and looks constipated for most part of the film and later we find out why.
Now, if you’ve read interviews speculating the length of her role, you probably already know the ending. Since I already did, I had no choice but to sit back and redeem whatever few laughs I could from Steve Martin and Jean Reno. And there’s Andy Garcia thrown in for a bonus.
Yes, French accent still makes you laugh, he’s adorable as the bumbling Inspector and even has a couple of scenes that require him to be moist-eyed. The master comedian milks the part to the last drop, relishing the role and revels playing everybody’s favourite goofball. Watch him fight the karate kids, hang out at the Pope’s (literally!) or snoop around the high-surveillance building and you know there are very few actors left who can make these things funny enough to warrant a watch.
The film is all that you expect from the Pink Panther franchise – structured as a series of familiar gags that will first humiliate the legendary Inspector, then take him to the depths of despair and until he finally redeems his reputation with an uncanny flair for investigation and solving cases.
Emily Mortimer plays the perfect foil for the unlikely hero and she’s bound to walk away with more fans than Ms.Rai at the end of it all.
Go for it only if you are in the mood for good old silly slapstick.