Wag The Dog (DVD)
Academy Award winners Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman star in a tale of politics, power and Hollywood so outrageous it could be true! Two weeks before re-election, the President of the United States (Michael Belson) is accused of accosting a girl scout. Before the news reaches the media, his advisors call in a political consultant (De Nireo) specializing in image rescues. What to do? Hire a Hollywood producer (Hoffman) to create a war--distracting public attention from the scandal and rallying Americans to their President in surge of patriotic ferver.
Not only was Barry Levinson's comedy shot in a relatively fast period of 29 days, the satire of politics and show business feels as if it were made yesterday. There's a fresh spin quite evident here, a nervy satire of a presidential crisis and the people who whitewash the facts. The main players are a mysterious Mr. Fix-It (Robert De Niro), veteran Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman), and a White House aide (Anne Heche). Can the president's molesting of a young girl be buried in the two weeks before an election? A war in Albania just might do the trick. In the good old days, the president would just invade. With modern technology, it's even cleaner. The hungry press looks for any lead, convenient misinformation is created by the latest Hollywood fakery ("all developed by the new James Cameron film") creating images and merchandise all instantly packaged. And it must be real, because it's on TV. David Mamet's script never questions the morals or the absolute secrecy needed to pull this thing off. He and director Barry Levinson have enough truth in the story to make you wonder what is real news and what is just promotion the next time you see CNN. Many of the supporting players impact the story with mere presence: Denis Leary as a quote man, Willie Nelson as a songwriter. The three leads are magnificent. With the similarities between history and this film, Wag
will forever linked to the Monica Lewinsky saga. This video version contains a new minidocumentary focusing on the parallels of the film with the Bill Clinton scandal, including comments from director Barry Levinson and hosted by newsman Tom Brokaw. --Doug Thomas