When the President of the United States is caught in a scandal just two weeks before the election, it's up to his White House advisor Ronnie Bream (Robert De Niro) to clean up the mess. Ronnie joins forces with Hollywood Producer Stan Moss (Dustin Hoffman) to divert the country's attention from the President's crime. They decide that what is needed to stop the media spotlight is a war, but lacking a real war, they fake one. Actresses play pretty refugees and rock stars record hit songs about freedom. Soon America is rallying around the President. But trouble arrives when a rough and tough Senator gets wise to the pair's tricks. Meanwhile, Election Day gets closer and closer...
I think there is a point at which celebrity aura becomes so intense that nobody dares to tell you you are shit. Hoffman does his clichéd camp character which is now his default, de Niro is only slightly less camp. The story is focussed on an American election story clearly referencing Monica Lewinsky which is supposed to be funny but it didn't get to me. The rest dares to suggest that spin doctors are willing to lie. Well as Tony Blair made 3 terms of office with Alastair Campbell as his chief liar, it is not funny any more, just depressing. Borgen does spin doctors much, much, much, better.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
Somehow Very Relevant
- Wag the Dog review by Cato
How come so many presidents have so much trouble getting elected in the good ole US of A, and why are there so many problematic shenanigans going on? This film attempts to show us, with two of Hollywood's most famous actors trying to get the incumbent leader back in the big seat, although he's been in trouble with a teenage girl. Ring any sort of bells? Anyway Dustin and Robert try to do the dirty work to get the naughty man back in power. This politics seem to be a dirty business eh?
Wag the Dog was written & produced in 1996/97 and released about a month before news broke in early 1998 of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, and so it is not, as many have assumed, based on that scandal - but it prefigures it beautifully.
Dustin Hoffman plays what, according to Hollywood insiders, is a pitch-perfect rendition of Godfather producer Robert Evans, de Niro veers away from his usual roles to tap into a cynical vein of humour; the two principals are ably supported by a diverse bunch from Willie Nelson to Woody Harrelson.
If politics is your thing this'll be a knowing chuckle-fest.