An Outrageous Watergate Spoof
So you think you know the truth behind the Watergate scandal? Think again. In the clever comedy Dick, blame for Richard Nixon’s downfall is placed squarely on the heads of two teenage girls (Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams). It’s not widely known, but these best friends became “Deep Throat,” the famous information source for investigative reporters Carl Bernstein (Bruce McCulloch) and Bob Woodward (Will Ferrell).
How could such a thing happen? Well, when Betsy Jobs (Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Williams) go out to mail a letter one night, they stumble on to G.Gordon Liddy (Harry Shearer) and his co-horts who are up to no good. The girls think nothing of it at the time. But they see Liddy again during a school tour of the White House and are pulled in for interrogation. An accidental meeting with President Nixon (Dan Hedaya) results in their assignment as official White House dog walkers. While performing their new duties, they have access to closely guarded secrets.
They discover the real facts about such world-shaking events as the Watergate burglary, the destruction of important documents, and the smoking gun. Without giving too much away, one of the film’s surprising bits of information is that Nixon was a closet paper freak. (He used the shredded documents for his paper mache hobby!)
Although flawed by its over-reaching ending and a couple of slow-moving scenes, this satire is a joy to watch because of its great cast. Hedaya (Clueless) plays Nixon with such humorous intensity that you might vote for him in spite of everything. Dunst (Drop Dead Gorgeous) just gets better and better. She has become one of Hollywood’s finest young actresses. Williams (Dawson’s Creek) shows considerable promise too. The casting of McCulloch (Kids In The Hall) and Ferrell (Saturday Night Live) as Bernstein and Woodward may have been risky, but it produces comic magic. They make a bizarro Dustin Hoffman/Robert Redford duo. (Remember All The President’s Men?) According to the press notes, they were so funny when working on the film that production had to be stopped many times while the cast and crew composed themselves.
Writer/director Andrew Fleming (The Craft) admits to being fascinated by the 70s. The basis for rewriting history for this movie began when he and co-writer Sheryl Longin started talking about getting a couple of teenage girls from the “me” generation in trouble. “These girls change history while they are flunking it in school,” he expains. He hopes people will watch his movie and say it could have happened that way. “Because,” he teases, “nobody has proof that it didn’t.”
(Released by Columbia Pictures/Phoenix Pictures and rated “PG-13” for sex related humor, drug content, and strong language.)