Trying to take the measure of Sacha Baron Cohen, who has played a Kazakh journalist visiting the US in “Borat,” an Austrian fashionista voguing in “Bruno,” a North African dictator demoted to ordinary US immigrant in “The Dictator.” His Halloween parade of beards and costumes and accents makes it hard to tell if he’s an actor or an impersonator.
There is a difference. An actor drills down into the inner life of a character; an impersonator focuses on the externals. Peter Sellers as Chauncey Gardiner in “Being There”: Actor. Peter Sellers in the the triple roles as aviator, president and warmonger in “Dr. Strangelove”: impersonator. Frequently compared to Sellers, Baron Cohen is destined to inherit his mantle of “international comedian.”
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