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Wag the Dog (1997) Movie Information

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Wag the Dog (1997)
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Barry Levinson


Dustin Hoffman
Robert De Niro
Anne Heche
Denis Leary
Willie Nelson
Kirsten Dunst





Plot Outline:

Caught in a sex scandal, the presidential spin-meister diverts the media's attention by creating a war ... using Hollywood.

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Quick Movie Reviews

Yojimbo 05/25/2012 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

Rating of

The selling point for this film is obviously the pairing of De Niro and Hoffman, but for me it was the potential in the idea; that backroom spin doctors manufacture a war to deflect attention from a presidential sex scandal. The initial scenes when De Niro the fixer bustles into the white house and brainstorms ideas ("why Albania?" "Why not?") and later the quickfire banter between he and Hoffman are great fun. But soonafter the satirical bite is replaced by rather feeble farce, a turn for the worse reinforced by Heche's sitcom acting talents and Woody Harrelson's buck-toothed redneck soldier. This could've been a brilliant political satire, but ultimately this dog proved to be toothless.

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Andrew 05/20/2012 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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Great satire about spin doctors and the media. Dustin Hoffman puts on a great performance as Stanley Motss, certainly worthy of his nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1997. The film is short and concise and well written. The music, put together by Mark Knopfler, is outstanding, featuring original material and the various fictional campaign songs. This film's only weakness is introducing the CIA as an adversary to the main characters, but abandoning it almost immediately. The idea that a CIA agent would back down because of bizarre accusations (such as those made by De Niro's character) is a bit weak, but that is really a minor matter for a great movie overall.

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sapien 11/12/2011 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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I just remember not liking it all that much. But, it is an interesting concept.

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mitchellyoung 04/28/2011 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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Brilliantly realized satire on media and politics. I liked how the film kept rising to more and more absurd heights, while still maintaining a relatively serious and grounded tone. Sort of like a modern day Dr. Strangelove.

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bwill 01/20/2008 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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Mamet's classic screenplay about media manipulation brought to the screen. For Mamet, it's definitely on the lighter side (see Glengarry Glen Ross), but well done. Extraordinary acting (De Niro, Hoffman, Heche, Macy, Leary) and well-paced. If you like political thrillers, this one will not disappoint.

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Allison 12/21/2007 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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I really liked this film and thought it worked well. Kirsten Dunst was a tad annoying, but the rest.....perfect.

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