CAST: Steve Martin, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Emily Mortimer, John Cleese
DIRECTOR: Harald Zwart
Forget the impressive star cast, Aishwarya’s name included. This is Steve Martin’s film and despite the jarring accent, his Inspector Clouseau makes you laugh, whether it’s questioning the Pope over the robbery of his ring or falling off the papal balcony while doing the same; setting restaurants on fire by accident; or trampling over vital evidence all across Europe.
Forget the carping over Aishwarya as well. No, she doesn’t have a tid-bit role: it’s a fairly meaty one. Given the strange make-up – leaving her look overdressed and sweaty compared to the seemingly “plain” Nicole (Mortimer) – and her accent, that’s about how much one can take of her.
If there is a surprise, it’s Jean Reno as Ponton, Inspector Clouseau’s ever suffering but loyal assistant. His trademark moustache shaved, hair combed back, he is unrecognisable and a delight.
Lily Tomlin as Clouseou’s minder on political and social correctness also wins hands down. Her sessions with the Inspector on what to say or not to, leave the famous detective at a loss of words. Told he can’t hit children or call them piglets, Clouseou grumbles: “The world is changing so fast.”