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The film opens with a shot of an obviously fake backdrop with a badly drawn Eiffel Tower, nothing realistic about it. A fairly awful puppet comes walking out in front of it, and I had a moment where I thought, “Oh, god, is it all going to look like this?” Evidently, when they first screened the footage for Paramount executives, the prankster spirit that is alive and well in the guys led them to make sure that this was the first shot they saw from the entire production, prompting one executive to actually yell “Oh, god, they f**k*d us!”
That’s the gag, though. As the camera pans left, we get our first look at a huge beautiful outdoor Paris set, and we realize that what we were looking at is a sidewalk puppet show, being performed by a puppet puppeteer. Dozens of Parisians are out, walking in the park, riding bikes, enjoying the sun. There’s even an annoying mime trying to get everyone’s attention. A small French boy walks along with his mother, enjoying a chocolate pop, so distracted by it that he walks right into the back of a terrorist. How do we know he’s a terrorist? Because of the turban, the briefcase with the blinking light on it, and the temp track from BLACK HAWK DOWN.