The Pink Panther 2 (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Steve Martin: the dream is over. The dream being that one day he might be funny again.

I could take any number of Father of the Brides or Cheaper by the Dozens – the wretched family entertainments Martin presumably agreed to star in for the money – but this revisiting of Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau catapults Martin so far beyond the pale of authentic comedy that there can be no hope of return. Perhaps eight-year-old children might giggle at the klutzy inspector's slapstick moves, but few will crack a smile at the smug, sexist berk he plays the rest of the time. Check his PC-training scene with Lily Tomlin, his one-time co-star back in the good, old days of All of Me, and weep, but not with laughter. Even his comic Franglais accent ("Oo is it zat are yoo?") makes 'Allo 'Allo! look clever, while his scenes with John Cleese, another comic who lost his sense of humour, could be adapted as a form of masterclass in How Not To Be Funny. Emily Mortimer, Jean Reno and Alfred Molina share out the mortification.