Little known actor, Jack Noah, is working on location in the country of Parador at the time the dictator dies. The dictator's right hand man, Roberto, makes Jack an offer he cannot refuse.....
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Little known actor, Jack Noah, is working on location in the country of Parador at the time the dictator dies. The dictator's right hand man, Roberto, makes Jack an offer he cannot refuse.. to play the dictator. Jack's acting skills fool the masses but not close friends and employees of the dictator. Written by
Wildly Funny Send-Up of 'Royal Pretender' Theme...
MOON OVER PARADOR, Paul Mazursky's follow-up to the brilliant 'social class' comedy, DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS (1986), reteams the director with star Richard Dreyfuss, in one of the funniest 'Look-alike on the Throne' comedies of the past two decades.
The theme (a stand-in replaces an incapacitated or unavailable leader) has been a popular subject in film for years (THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, I WAS MONTY'S DOUBLE, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED, and DAVE are just a few examples), but Mazursky gives it a novel twist by making the 'hero' a ham actor of epic proportion (and NOBODY plays an egotistical actor better than Dreyfuss!), and the 'villain', a ruthless advisor who is a frustrated director, as well (Raul Julia, who is wickedly funny in the role).The comic chemistry between the pair works so well that you could easily mistake the film as being written by Neil Simon!
Parador, a tiny Caribbean nation where English is the national language, and revolution, the national pastime, is ruled with an iron hand by President Simms (Dreyfuss, with a moustache, paunch, and swarthy complexion). A larger-than-life, womanizing scoundrel, Simms is controlled, in turn, by opportunistic Secret Police chief Roberto Strausmann (Julia). Making a social visit to a American movie set, the dictator meets the picture's star, Jack Noah (Dreyfuss, again), who is goaded by his castmates into doing his popular over-the-top impression of the leader (fortunately for Noah, Simms finds it amusing).
After the shooting wraps, Noah, encouraged by a local American 'businessman' (Jonathan Winters, in a funny cameo), decides to stay for a few days to indulge at a national festival. Meanwhile, Simms is being soundly condemned by Strausmann for his public affair with Madonna, a notorious prostitute (played by Sonia Braga), as well as for his unhealthy lifestyle...and the dictator keels over and dies!
Things look bad for Strausmann, until he remembers the American...and Jack Noah is about to be 'drafted' to play the role of his career...
Full of humorous references to Broadway (Strausmann has reviews of EVERY play Noah had ever appeared in...and quotes some of the more 'colorful' ones, to the actor's chagrin), sight gags (Noah, as Simms, starts the befuddled household staff on a program of aerobics), and cameos (Sammy Davis Jr. sings Parador's 'National Anthem', and Mazursky, himself, appears in drag, as Simm's mother), MOON OVER PARADOR is a comic gem, with an over-the-top climax (which would be 'lifted' for Ivan Reitman's 'American President' comedy, DAVE), and a bittersweet ending that will certainly bring a smile to all but the most jaded viewer.
This film is DEFINITELY a keeper!
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