Monday, November 7, 2016

The Pink Panther 2

Year 8, Day 311 - 11/6/16 - Movie #2,481

BEFORE: I feel a little guilty now for not scrapping my plans and programming something political, with the election in just two days.  They're running documentaries like "Where to Invade Next" and "Weiner", and I do want to see those - you'd think now would be the perfect time, but instead I'm just so burned out by all of the coverage, that honestly, the last thing I want to do is focus on politics.  I'll take a mindless comedy like this one, anything to get my mind off of polls and debates and predictions. 

I watched Game 7 of the World Series last week, and if you have to pick just one baseball game to watch, you'd like to think Game 7 of the World Series would be the one.  And it was.  I'd say that I didn't have a dog in that fight, except that I did root for the Indians for a few years while married to someone from Cleveland, and I still think they would have won in 1994 if the Series had been played (kids, look it up).  But then again, the Cubs had a longer drought, so I was good either way.  Terry Francona, former Red Sox coach, was coaching the Indians, but Theo Epstein, former Red Sox GM, is now GM for the Cubs.  So for once I was able to just enjoy a game, regardless of the outcome.  

I wish I could say the same about the election - it looks like I'll be forced to head to the polls now, or I'll never hear the end of it.  God forbid that anyone disagree with the outcome, then if I didn't vote, then somehow it'll be my fault.  I predict this one will go into extra innings, then we'll get a rain delay of sorts, like we did in 2000 (again, kids, look it up...)  Maybe I need to approach it like I did Game 7 - if my candidate wins, then I get to relax, and if the other one wins, I get to watch the country crash and burn, and enjoy the increased schadenfreude from the comedy pundits.  

Steve Martin carries over from "The Pink Panther", which is an easy one, and tomorrow I'll have to get a little more creative.

THE PLOT: Insp. Jacques Clouseau teams up with a squad of International detectives.  Their mission: Stop a globe-trotting thief who specializes in stealing historical artifacts.

AFTER: Clumsy Clouseau is back, and now he proves to be just as inept at romance as he is at crime-fighting.  Still, he fails upward on both fronts, because honestly, this is just a bunch of silly fluff I'm watching to distract myself (not working...).  When you get right down to it, it's just a collection of slapstick gags, tied together by the thinnest of plots, which is rife with inconsistencies.  

Though I think the one thing this sequel got right was introducing a famous jewel thief, which in theory pays direct homage to the Phantom, who stole the Pink Panther in the original Peter Sellers film.  Here the thief is called "Il Tornado", which seems to be a reference to nothing in particular, my guess is someone just picked a name that wasn't "The Phantom", because that would be more than an homage, then it would be a rip-off. (God forbid!).  

Clouseau is also forced to update his way of thinking, because he's an old-school gendarme in the new world of political correctness, so even though he's exremely busy working on the Il Tornado case, they also bring in a specialist to lecture him on proper work-place behavior.  (Umm, couldn't we postpone that until AFTER we catch the jewel thief?)  To support my claim that the film is inconsistent, may I just point out that Clouseau is coached to not engage in racial stereotypes, but then the film assembles a team of detectives from around the world, and the Japanese guy is the tech expert, the British gent is the master of observation, the Italian is a great romancer...  "Hello, kettle?  This is the pot calling.  Guess what?"

It's also odd that French Inspector Dreyfus is no longer played by the same actor, but his co-star from "A Fish Called Wanda", and somehow he's now British.  I mean, really?  What gives?  Are we not supposed to notice this?  I get that Dreyfus is a key character in the "Pink Panther" series, but since Clouseau is already teaming up with international detectives, why not just have him loaned out to Scotland Yard, and that way the casting of John Cleese might make a little more sense.  I mean, I love Kevin Kline, but I also love Cleese, and if you can get Cleese, by all means get him, but just don't cast him as a Frenchman.  And while Dreyfus's character's accent changed from French to British, the accent of Clouseau's assistant, Ponton changed from British to French.  Go figure.  

It gets worse from there, Clouseau is completely clueless, yet somehow had the ability to outsmart the thief.  He's always wrong, until he's incredibly right.  Dreyfus can't stand Clouseau, yet admires him when he cracks the case.  How can all of these things exist at the same time?  I think what bothers me the most is that nothing seems to matter, nobody seemed interested in fixing any errors, they just wanted to keep a franchise alive with another film.  I'm starting to realize how brilliant "South Park" is this season, with its long-running gag about "member berries".  As long as Hollywood keeps trying to feed us these servings of re-booted nostalgia, and we keep watching them, hoping to somehow regain our childhood memories, this is what we're going to end up with, instead of new stories with new ideas.

Also starring Jean Reno (also carrying over from "The Pink Panther"), Emily Mortimer (ditto), John Cleese (last seen in "Around the World in 80 Days"), Andy Garcia (last seen in "Ghostbusters"), Alfred Molina (last seen in "The Hoax"), Jeremy Irons (last seen in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"), Lily Tomlin (last seen in "The Kid"), Yuki Matsuzaki, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Geoffrey Palmer (last seen in "Paddington"), Johnny Hallyday, with cameos from Federico Castelluccio, Christiane Amanpour (last seen in "Iron Man 2").

RATING: 3 out of 10 security cameras

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