The Pink Panther 2, Harald Zwart, 92 mins, PG
Friday The 13th, Marcus Nispel, 97 mins, 18

Do you remember the first time? Then give these a miss

Well, I hope you tucked into the feast of Oscar contenders that's been spread before you for the past month, because there's nothing in the Hollywood pantry this week, it seems, except reheated left-overs. It's got to the stage that the most appetising morsel on the menu is The Pink Panther 2 – the second film to star Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau and, by my calculations, the 10th in which the bungling detective has appeared.

It's a baggy, brightly coloured farce that's good for three or four chuckles, tops. A mysterious thief called The Tornado is stealing the world's greatest treasures, so Clouseau is drafted into an international team of expert sleuths. It's incredible how over-qualified the cast is. In no particular order, there's Jean Reno, Jeremy Irons, Alfred Molina, Andy Garcia, Lily Tomlin and Aishwarya Rai, none of whom has anything to do except sit around waiting for Martin to trip over something. It's indicative of the film's talent-squandering that it has John Cleese in the role of Clouseau's superior, Chief Inspector Dreyfus, and yet he uses his usual English accent instead of his priceless French twang from The Holy Grail. The only asset among the supporting cast is Emily Mortimer, adorable as Clouseau's Miss Moneypenny stand-in (Mlle Argentcent, I suppose). But even she is problematic: it makes your skin crawl to see someone so fresh-faced and sweet mooning over this Clouseau.

As Rowan Atkinson demonstrated in his second Mr Bean film, buffoonish man-children are only funny up to a certain age, at which point they become creepy. Martin, aged 63, has gone beyond that certain age. There's something insalubrious about a camp, mincing, blithely destructive senior citizen with the hormones of an adolescent and the intellect of a toddler. Sellers' Clouseau may have been clumsy, but Martin's version is a grown man who's never heard of the Pope, and who thinks he can drive a car with his hands off the wheel. To quote the wise words of Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder, Martin has "gone full retard", ie, he's made the character so stupid that you're no longer amused by his antics, you're just worried that he's going to hurt himself.

This week's other beacon of originality is Friday The 13th. For those who haven't been keeping track, the first film to bear that irrelevant title was released in 1980, to be followed by 10 sequels, the last of which limped out in 2003. Now the producers are going back to the beginning, and re-telling the same old gory story. Friday The 13th was never going to be a masterpiece, but there's no reason why it couldn't have had some brains to go with all the entrails, as evidenced by My Bloody Valentine 3D. Instead, the franchise has been resurrected in the most witlessly formulaic fashion, even by the standards of a slasher movie. Suffice it to say that some vacuous, interchangeable students/underwear models go to stay in a house in the woods, where the women take their tops off before a hockey-masked serial killer called Jason takes their heads off. You needn't feel sorry for them, though. The characters' IQs go up once they're decapitated.

Also showing 15/02/2009

Notorious (122 mins, 15)

This biopic of the late Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka the Notorious BIG, achieves the remarkable feat of seeming like a simplified, sanitised hagiography at the same time as presenting the Brooklyn-born rap star as a repulsive waste of calories. The script crowbars in numerous speeches about what a special person Wallace is, and it claims that he's an innocent bystander in the hip-hop feud that culminates in his shooting, but the Biggie (Jamal Woolard, pictured centre) we're shown is a crack-dealing, wife-beating, child-neglecting, self-pitying liar. An incisive film about him would have been a dubious enterprise; an unconvincing TV movie is just pointless.

Hotel for Dogs (100 mins, U)

Emma Roberts (Julia's niece) plays one of two orphaned siblings who stumble upon a boarded-up, yet fully furnished Belle Epoque hotel in the heart of a thriving metropolis. Seems a tad unlikely. Anyway, they decide to turn it into a deluxe animal shelter, and equip it with Heath Robinson devices that feed and exercise the strays. It's a fine premise for a half-hour Wallace and Gromit episode, but does it really fit into a melodrama about sobbing children in search of loving foster parents? No, it doesn't.

King of the Hill (88 mins, 15)

The hero of this well-made Spanish survival thriller has to leg it through the mountains while someone takes pot shots at him with a sniper rifle. At least he's a recognisable member of the human race, unlike the machete fodder in 'Friday the 13th'. NB

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas