The good news: Steve Martin is back as Inspector Clouseau and you can bet that means the same in the first one. "Pink Panther 2" begins when a masterful and mysterious thief named the Tornado begins stealing expensive artifacts from around the world, the Government of France assembles a dream team of experts to solve the case before anything else goes missing. Inspector Clouseau, who has been writing parking tickets as per Chief Inspector Dreyfus' orders (this time played by John Cleese). As Clouseau leaves France, the Tornado steals the Pink Panther diamond from the museum where it was stored. The Dream Team, composed of Italy's Inspector Vincenzo (Andy Garcia), Great Britain's Inspector Pepperidge (Alfred Molina), Japan's whiz kid Kenji Mazuto (Yuki Matsuzaki) and India's Tornado expert Sonia (Aishwarya Rai) meet Clouseau and his two associates, Jean Reno as Ponton and Emily Mortimer as Nicole in France where they proceed to gather clues in the hopes of tracking down the Tornado. The bad news: the new Dreyfus speaks with a strong British accent instead attempting a good French one and no female lead role. Emma Bunton, was supposed to be in this movie replacing Beyoncé, ¡yay! Some trailers announced it, but when I went to the theater, I was so upset that Emma didn't appear. What happened to her? I'll create this parallel "twistory" about her based in "Romancing the Stone":
While the Dream Team was solving the case through Paris and Rome, Emma was racing through the jungles of Colombia, after the bus where she was going to Cartagena, caused an accident. Previously, she received a phone call from Paris to participate with Clouseau and the Dream Team in the crime scene, but the plane where she was traveling, crashed in South America, after being pushed by a hurricane at the English Channel, a few kilometers from France. The blonde meets an American adventurer, Jack T. Colton (Matt Damon) and Rico, his young sidekick; who invite her to a scavenger hunt in the Lost City of El Dorado (a Mayan/Inca-like civilization). The three were followed by some mysterious Latin men and soldiers, commanded by corrupt policeman Zolo (Javier Bardem). Emma, Jack and Rico fall down a spring, they have to cross a wide river, and eventually they get lost. They find a crashed airplane with boxes of marijuana, and they spend the night there, because outside it's pouring down with rain. When they leave the next morning, after Jack has saved Emma from being bitten by a poisonous snake, they arrive at a small village. They ask for a phone or a car there, but several dangerous-looking men tell them there is not any. Asking at a mansion, they are helped because Juan (John Leguizamo) recognizes Emma. He invites the three, and inside, the town cottage looks like an hacienda with all the amenities of a luxurious manor house. Juan lends them his 4x4. That way they ran away through the jungle. Zolo will find Emma and Jack eventually, dressed up in Colombian-like outfits for a party. All the main characters are about to fall in the crocodile pond while fighting; the bad guys were eaten by the crocodiles; and going back and forth in pursuit of the jewel hoard at the Lost City's pyramid. The treasure was retrieved, Jack bought an ship, and the three sailed to Paris, but unfortunately Emma arrived too late: she arrived when Clouseau and Nicole escaped, and nobody of the Dream Team recognized her, because the Colombian outfit.
Back to my review, even though a significant amount of time has passed in-universe, the characters haven't evolved at all and neither has the level of humor. I'm sure they'll laugh at the mispronunciation of "hamburger" at the hands of Clouseau again. It's more of the same buffoonish behavior that confirms that in real life, Clouseau would be too dumb to live. As soon as Clouseau starts talking to the Pope and asks to look inside the wardrobe you know two things: A) he isn't going to solve anything because he's a fool and B) he's going to end up wearing the Pope's clothes so we can have a goofy scene where people confuse the Inspector's bumbling behavior for his holiness being either in trouble or acting incredibly strange. Going back to that joke about the word hamburger being mispronounced again, that joke must have ranked high in the first movie because it's done many times here, including a long scene where all Clouseau does is mess up word after word. Not funny the first time, not funny again.
From the point of Harald Zwart ("Agent Cody Banks"), the movie deliberately gives the characters vague dialogue so that you have a harder time deciphering who the Tornado is. To give credit where credit is due though, the riddle of the Tornado is an improvement over the mystery in the first film. Despite the fact that Clouseau and Nicole clearly had a relationship that was beginning to blossom at the end of the first movie they're basically back to zero again here and Ponton has apparently forgotten that despite Clouseau's ultimately correct powers of deduction, he was still a bumbling karate wannabe that really needed help. Once more, Cato Fong is absent and replaced by two obnoxious kids.
It feels weird to say this, but this is actually a step backwards for the franchise. I didn't want to dislike the movie and I can't say I really did, but after seeing it I'm left so indifferent that all I can say is that the movie's harmless so if your kids want to see it, fine, let them see it. I can't recommend it for anyone and don't encourage you to actually go out of your way to watch the movie because it just isn't a smart comedy or mystery.