Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Steve Martin as JACQUES CLOUSEAU
    Jean Reno as PONTON
    Emily Mortimer as NICOLE
    Andy Garcia as VINCENZO
    Alfred Molina PEPPERIDGE
    Yuki Matsuzaki as KENJI MAZUTO
    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as SONIA SOLANDRES
    Lily Tomlin as MRS. BERENGER
    Jeremy Irons as ALONZO AVELLANEDA

    Rated PG
    Studio: MGM

    Directed by: Harald Zwart

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Steve Martin makes his second appearance as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau. In this installment, Clouseau is brought in to lead a dream team of detectives when a mysterious thief has stolen rare antiquities from around the world, including the infamous Pink Panther diamond. Even though Clouseau is an absolute moron, he is able to stumble through the investigation and give the thief a run for his money.

I risked permanent damage to my reputation as a film critic for praising Steve Martin’s first outing as Inspector Clouseau, but I didn’t care. That movie made me laugh. And I’m not ashamed to say the same thing about this film.

When I first saw “Pink Panther 2” in the theaters, I didn’t think it was as good as the first one, but I have to say that when I revisited it on Blu-ray, the film has grown on me. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, it’s low-brow and slapstick humor. Yes, it is a ridiculous movie. But I can’t help it if that stuff makes me laugh.

Like he did in the first film, Martin does not try to top Peter Sellers. No one could do this, and I respect Martin for making the role his own. In fact, in this second installment of the new series, the antics of Clouseau are forged to take advantage of Martin’s comedy strengths – slapstick and trademarked “wild and crazy” moments.

The rest of the cast is excellent, being populated with incredible actors like Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, John Cleese, Lily Tomlin and Jeremy Irons. In fact, the scenes with Lily Tomlin as a political and social correctness coach are brilliant bits of comedy, reminding me of the banal but hilarious “hamburger” gag from the previous film.

“Pink Panther 2” is fun enough for kids to enjoy and has enough veiled adult humor that grown-ups will like it. As with many films, you might have to check your brain at the door. I did, and I couldn’t help but giggle throughout.

While critics around the world were taking shots at this movie in its theatrical run, I was defending it. I will, however, concede that many of these complaints are valid. The film is a silly movie, easily sillier than the first. The plot is a bit shaky and serves as an excuse to string together Clouseau’s pratfalls. I may be okay with this as a viewer, but not everyone will be.

Let’s just say that if you watch this movie, you should know what you’re getting into. If you hated the first film, you’ll hate this one. If you liked the first film, you will probably like this one as well.

Even if you don’t like Steve Martin’s take on Clouseau, it’s hard to deny that this Blu-ray release is excellent. Not only is the movie presented in high definition with a 5.1 Dolby mix, but there are three discs in the set.

The first Blu-ray disc includes the feature along with a gag reel and two featurettes. “Drama Is Easy... Comedy Is Dangerous” examines the sometimes harrowing job of being a slapstick actor. “A Dream Team Like No Other” takes a look at the excellent cast behind each of the detectives, including the intoxicating and alluring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. There’s also a trivia game for your set-top player in which you can answer questions about antiquities so you can steal them before Clouseau catches you.

The second disc is a bonus DVD (also available in the DVD combo), which features 27 classic “Pink Panther” cartoons. It’s not as comprehensive as MGM’s recently released “The Pink Panther: Classic Cartoon Collection” box set which includes all 192 cartoons, but it’s a great start.

Finally, the third disc provides a Digital Copy of the film for download to portable media devices.

Those who like Steve Martin and found 2006’s “The Pink Panther” funny. Hamburger!

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