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Moon Over Parador Review

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An actor finds himself impersonating the dictator of the Latin American country he was just filming in, leading to misunderstandings, romance and eventually democracy.

★★★★★

A not especially successful actor (Richard Dreyfuss as Jack Noah) has just finished making a third-rate film in the imaginary Latin American country of Parador. Just as he is about to leave, the local military dictator dies and to preserve the status quo the neo-Nazi police chief-whose blessed with the hybrid name Roberto Straussman (played by Raul Julia)-coerces Noah into assuming his boss's identity.

Reluctant at first, Noah gradually begins to enjoy the challenge offered by the part, especially when the dictator's stunning mistress Madonna (Sonia Braga) slinks onto the scene.

Unfortunately for a comedy, Moon Over Parador isn't funny- neither clever enough to work as a kitsch send-up, nor crass enough for successful farce. To add to the misery, its political content is sloppy and confused-while acknowledging the influence of the CIA in propping up the fascist regime, a gringo is needed to bring democracy to a grateful nation.

Some inspired moments do manage to transcend the laboured script and heavy-handed direction. The CIA's resident maniac approaches the right tone of demented hysteria by screaming, among other things, "You lush! You wanted to hump him, didn't you?" at his wife. Likewise the dictator's bad-tempered mother growling at everyone except her elegant young boyfriend makes Moon Over Parador bearable. Just.

Unfortunately for a comedy, Moon Over Parador isn't funny- neither clever enough to work as a kitsch send-up, nor crass enough for successful farce. Richard Dreyfuss, does his stuff adequately and it's mildly entertaining in parts.