Wag the Dog
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In a 29-day shoot, Barry Levinson filmed this $15 million political and media satire, adapted by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet from Larry Beinhart's novel, American Hero. Two weeks prior to re-election, the President (Michael Belson) is accused of cornering an underage girl in the Oval Office. To keep the media from learning of this, Presidential adviser Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) brings in political consultant and spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), a specialist in such salvage operations. Brean suggests fabricating denials of non-existent emergencies -- such as denials about the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Hilary Henkin and David Mamet's script is gleefully hyperbolic without ever straying from its political target."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The pacing is crisp, the dialogue quippy and fast, the tone arch but energetic."
‑ Godfrey Cheshire, Variety
"'Wag the Dog,' a movie that's fun to see more than once, comes across as a bitingly funny satire of politics, the media and show business."
‑ Betty Jo Tucker, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Anyone who would be inherently interested in this kind of sendup is unlikely to be surprised by anything in this film -- overall it feels like a trifle, if an entertaining one."
‑ Sandra Contreras, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Strong performances abound in the film."
‑ Gary Brown, Houston Community Newspapers
"Lazily assembled by director Levinson, it slides into a series of soft, extended skits on engineering a media war, not helped by several badly handled leaps in the story."
‑ , Time Out
"A wicked smart satire on the interlocking worlds of politics and show business, Wag the Dog confirms every awful thought you've ever had about media manipulation and the gullibility of the American public."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Entertaining, creepily resonant political comedy."
‑ Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
"Twisty and flat-out hilarious."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"I doubt it will age as well as Network, but it is close to that realm of brilliance."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Amusing as it is, Wag The Dog does what it purports to sat irize -- the bark is real but the teeth aren't."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Wag the Dog could have been a one-joke scenario, but it's consistently rescued from monotony by a smart script."
‑ John Hartl, Film.com
"Smart political satire from director Barry Levinson."
‑ , Film4
"Feels tossed-off and casual in the best way."
‑ Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com
"Beyond a couple of hilarious zingers, its impact feels smug and minor."
‑ Tom Meek, Film Threat
More reviews for Wag the Dog on Rotten Tomatoes

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