‘The Pink Panther 2’ kicks off with by-the-book Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin) clinging to a speeding car, from which he is catapulted straight into the first of many deeply unfunny slapstick sequences. The story, such as there isn’t, revolves around a ‘dream team’ of international detectives (Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki) charged with capturing the elusive thief of the Pink Panther diamond. Against his superior’s wishes (John Cleese, funny for a change), Clouseau is assigned to the task and… you can guess the rest.
On paper, the wild ’n’ crazy Steve Martin would seem as good a bet as any to play the late Peter Sellers’s disaster-prone detective; in practice, however, he is hopeless. It’s not just his disappointing body language – something Sellers was especially good at – it’s his unamusing faux-French accent. Where Sellers got the inflection down to a politically–incorrect tee, Martin fumbles it from the off. And that, in a nutshell, is reason enough to avoid this as one might any other calamity.