Wag The Dog
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

The President of the United States is two weeks away from re- election, but he's way behind in the polls. A recent allegation of sexual misconduct by a teenage girl has the President losing ground fast in the public eye. Enter Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), the invisible man who has been given the task of reviving the President's run for re-election. With the help of staff member Winifred Ames (Anne Heche), he employs the talents of Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) to fabricate a war to restore the people's trust in the President. Together, the three manipulate the media to turn the President from a child molester to a war hero. They fake stories of nuclear bombs on the Canadian border and of soldiers on the battle front.

WAG THE DOG is an inventive, and often times funny, film. Dustin Hoffman's performance as a stereotypical Hollywood producer will make this movie the sleeper of the holiday season. Obviously, government staff members are portrayed as corrupt as they lie and fabricate wars and rumors of wars to revive the President's re-election hopes. They manipulate the media using every Hollywood trick in the book. They tug on heart strings with special effects and Willie Nelson songs. Much of it is done in a comic vein, but the audience leaves with the idea that a lot of this of stuff probably really happens. Unfortunately, this clever film's dialogue is polluted by 15 crude words and 40 obscenities. The Lord's name is taken in vain thirteen times, and a few implied deaths occur, including the demise of Mr. Motss at the hands of government agents when he refuses to keep quiet about masterminding the whole charade. The film also features frequent smoking and drinking of hard liquor. Intelligent adults will enjoy this government parody. Unfortunately, discriminating viewers will find that the objectionable elements overwhelm the film's creativity.

Preview Reviewer: Jason Shepherd
Distributor: New Line, 888 7th Ave., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106

Crude Language: Many (15) times -- Mild 9, Moderate 6
Obscene Language: Many (40) times (s-word 15; f-word 25)
Profanity: Many (13) times -- Regular 5 (J/C, GD), Exclamatory 8
Violence: Few times implied -- (references to characters being killed)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Near nudity once (woman bends over revealing rear side)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (man makes reference to having sex)
Drug Abuse: Several times (smoking and hard liquor)
Other: Presidential staff shown as corrupt
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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