It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The espionage chief gives his agent instructions that are simple but puzzling. He is to go to the airport and choose a man. It doesn't matter who the man is. Then he is to indicate he knows the man, and leave. The plan is that a rival faction within the espionage machine will think the man is important. The faction will follow the man and the chief's agents will follow the faction's agents.
Very simple. And in the meantime, the chief will discover that his assistant has more agents than he was supposed to: "I didn't realize," he reflects at one point, "that I had so many men working for me." It's all routine in the espionage game, I guess, except for the guy who gets picked at random at the airport.
He goes through about a day-and-half of, shall we say, the most alarming events. He is seduced by a lovely spy, several men are killed and then concealed in his apartment, his affair with his best friend's wife is broadcast from a laundry truck, and he is very nearly raped by a bagpipe. All because he has one black shoe and one brown shoe: Their mates were nailed to the floor as a practical joke in Munich, you see, and so he had to fly back to Paris unmatched.
That's how "The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe" begins (and that also explains the title, although why nobody mentions the brown shoe I can't think), and the comedy is essentially working out of the various situations you get yourself into when the entire national spy system has chosen you as its unwitting battlefield. The spies in the movie are fairly clever; they don't have to go to the CIA for wigs and false mustaches, anyway, but they're confounded by their absolute belief that the tall blond man must be important.