Paul Mazursky’s elaborate farce [from a story by Charles G. Booth] about the actor as imposter (here posing as dictator of the mythical Latin nation Parador) has moments of true hilarity emerging only fitfully from a ponderous production.
Pic has Richard Dreyfuss well-cast as a fairly successful stage and film actor on a location shoot in the English-speaking Parador. He’s given an offer he can’t refuse by police chief Raul Julia to impersonate the just-deceased dictator.
Dreyfuss reluctantly adopts the role, but soon takes on the new persona in earnest after being coached by the dictator’s sexy mistress Madonna (Sonia Braga in a flamboyant, delicious turn).
Ruse comes to a climax when Dreyfuss starts instituting reforms inimical to Julia and other powerful interests.
Dreyfuss’ panache carries the film most of the way, ably played off Braga’s lusty and glamourous character. Julia is very convincing as the stern local despot and Jonathan Winters makes the most of his transparent Ugly American role as a CIA man in Parador.