Directed by Shawn Levy, starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Beyoncé Knowles and Jason Statham.

Those of a certain age will remember the wonderful Peter Sellers as the bumbling, sublimely dense Inspector Clouseau in Blake Edwards' original 'Pink Panther' series. Like those films, the 2006 'Pink Panther's opening credits follow tradition, depicting the animated Pink Panther character and a cartoon Clouseau, accompanied by variations on the original Henry Mancini score. But that's where any similarities end. If you have any fond memories of those earlier films, don't sully them by going to see this.

'The Pink Panther' finds Steve Martin (in yet another career misstep) as Clouseau, investigating the poison dart murder of a famous soccer coach and the theft of the coach's massive Pink Panther diamond ring. Supporting characters include the coach's international pop star girlfriend (pneumatic Knowles), a pretty but daffy secretary (Mortimer, wasted) and Kevin Kline as Clouseau-hating Chief Inspector Dreyfus while an embarrassed-looking Jean Reno plays Clouseau's deadpan assistant. As always, Clouseau has the ability to turn a small mistake into a catastrophe of major proportions. A scene which starts with him dropping a Viagra pill down a hotel sink ends with him arriving, dishevelled and burnt, at reception - through the ceiling.

Rather than developing his own character, Steve Martin has chosen to imitate Sellers playing Inspector Clouseau. But, whereas Sellers' faux-French mangling of the English language was funny, here it is mainly irritating although there is one great joke where a language coach tries to teach Cousteau to say "I would like to buy a hamburger." Small moments like this only serve to point up all the film's other shortcomings in the humour department - the forced slapstick and ze foony acc-zents quickly pall. Even all of Beyoncé's considerable charms - much on show - and a cameo from Clive Owen as secret agent 006 can't salvage much from this mess.

Do yourself a favour: Catch all the best moments in 'The Pink Panther' on the trailer and spend the time you would have wasted in the company of Peter Sellers' original Inspector Clouseau.

Caroline Hennessy