Wag the Dog

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Wag the Dog ★★½ 1997 (R)

Based on the book “American Hero” by Larry Beinhart and adapted by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet. Over-the-top Hollywood producer (Hoffman) is hired by White House officials to stage a military attack against the U.S. to divert media attention from accusations that the President fondled a Girl Scout. Show biz insiders say Hoffman's Motss resembles onetime studio head Robert Evans; Washington insiders wonder if it's a documentary. In fact, the entire film is one big insider's joke. Luckily, it's smart enough, and short enough, to avoid becoming tiresome. Look for cameos by Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson. Filmed in a speedy 29 days on a $15 million budget. 96m/C VHS, DVD . Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Suzanne Cryer, John Michael Higgins, Suzy Plakson, Kirsten Dunst, William H. Macy, Michael Belson; D: Barry Levinson; W: Hilary Henkin, David Mamet; C: Robert Richardson; M: Mark Knopfler. Natl. Bd. of Review ‘97: Support. Actress (Heche).