The local form of goverment in the fictitious country of Parador is "Free Dictatorship". Elections are held regularly between the two main political parties: Red and Blue and citizens are free to choose among these. Of course, both parties have the same candidate: Alphonse Simms, who probably have been in power since anyone can remember.
Jack Noah (Richard Dreyfuss) is an actor filming a movie in Parador. When the movie cast is introduced to the Dictator, he does an uncanny and lustful impersonation of the leader, which earns him kudos from everyone (Simms' included).
Disaster strikes, however, when Simms falls dead after drinking too much of the national drink (Punas) and Roberto Strausmann (Raul Julia), Secretary of the Interior and Chief of the Secret Police asks (which is an euphemism for forces) Noah to impersonate the Dictator for a while, to ensure a smooth transition of goverment.
Strausmann is actually the man behind the power. He is part of the "Thirteen Families" that control Parador, and of course, what he wants is to keep "Simms" in power until he can find a suitable replacement.
He doesn't count on Madonna Mendez (Sonia Braga), the Dictator's mistress who becomes an activist for the poor people (from where she came) of Parador, although her motives are hardly altruist at first.
Noah, in the meantime, begins a regime of reforms of his own: changes the National Anthem to lyrics of his own writing (and for some reason, sung to the tune of 'Besame Mucho'), puts the entire county on a health diet (himself setting an example) and regular exercises. Things soon get out of hands, with a revolt brewing in the country and a plan by Strauss to dispose of him as a scapegoat.
You probably won't miss a lot if you pass this movie by, but it is pretty good entertainment and certainly worth the price of a rental.
Sammy Davis Junior
Source: The Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com