An inept police inspector attempts to bring down an international thief, bungling the efforts of other detectives along the way. Inspector Clouseau is a bumbling police officer, sweet as can be, but utterly loathed by his high-strung boss, Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Dreyfus, who had assigned Clouseau to be a parking officer just to keep a distance between them, informs Clouseau that an international thief called The Tornado has been stealing historical items from around the globe. Police units from around the world have sent their best detectives to assemble a dream team to stop this dastardly thief, and Dreyfus wants Clouseau to go, so that he may be utterly out of his depths and as far from Dreyfus as possible. Clouseau fears that if he leaves, the valuable Pink Panther Diamond, which he has tasked himself to protect, will be stolen, but Dreyfus sends him regardless. Sure enough, as soon as Clouseau leaves, the Tornado finds his way into Paris and steals The Pink Panther. The Dream Team of detectives makes their way to France (bringing Clouseau back with them, much to Dreyfus' dismay). They find a black market salesman who they suspect may be the Tornado, but it turns out to be a false lead-- or so they thought, as the salesman later contacts the Tornado, who informs him (and the audience) that one of the detectives on the Dream Team is secretly his accomplice. When Clouseau tracks down the black market salesman and spies on him, he gets distracted when he sees the girl he loves on a date with another man, and his efforts to spy on her result in disaster. When the Tornado steals the Pope's ring, Clouseau then causes further public humiliation, leading to his removal from the Dream Team. However, when Clouseau discovers something the others don't know, it's up to him to bring the real criminal to justice before the Tornado can steal again.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's not brilliant by any stretch, but it's a pleasant and light diversion, led primarily by the enjoyable comedic timing of Steve Martin as Clouseau.
Best scene in story:
When spying on his love interest, Clouseau pretends to be a dancer and accidentally lights the entire restaurant on fire. Steve Martin is a gifted physical comic, which makes this scene enjoyable.
Opinion about the main character:
Clouseau means well, and his bumbling nature causes him to be an underdog in our eyes. Dreyfus' irrational hatred of him only ups our level of appreciation.