Derek Winnert

Wag the Dog ***½ (1997, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Dennis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Kirsten Dunst, William H Macy) – Classic Movie Review 926


Director Barry Levinson’s 1997 comedy drama stars Dustin Hoffman, who steals the show as a nervy, egomaniac Hollywood film producer whom White House spin doctor Robert De Niro needs to help him bale the American President out of a sex scandal.


De Niro wants Hoffman to make up a fictional Albanian war to distract the public’s attention from home affairs.


Considering that it is written by David Mamet and Hilary Henkin, it is a rather obvious political satire that lacks enough wit and subtlety. But, nevertheless, it keeps involving and is funny in places.


Levinson ensures that it is smartly made and eye-catchingly performed, while De Niro and especially Hoffman keep it highly watchable. Anne Heche, Dennis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Kirsten Dunst and William H Macy also score strongly in a classy cast.

Also in the cast are Suzie Plakston, Woody Harrelson, Michael Belson, Suzanne Cryer and Jason Cottle.

Levinson is the distinguished director of a long series of important films that also include Diner, Rain Man, Good Morning VietnamDisclosure, Sleepers, Sphere, Liberty Heights, Envy and Bandits,

© Derek Winnert 2014  Classic Film Review 926
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