Dick

1999, Movie, PG-13, 100 mins

Review

DICK
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Just who is this deceptively goofy teen comedy aimed at? Anyone old enough to remember the 1972 break-in at the Watergate Hotel and its scandalous aftermath probably won't thrill to the sight of two ditzy teens (played to perfection by Michelle Williams and the ever charming Kirsten Dunst) roller-disco-ing around Nixon's Oval Office. And any crowd that would probably won't have the slightest clue as to what makes parts of this kandy-kolored satire so very funny. The premise: Deep Throat, the top-secret source who allegedly provided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the goods needed to expose the extent of the Watergate cover-up, wasn't a top-level White House insider after all. Deep Throat was Betsy Jobs (Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Williams), two bubble-headed 15-year-olds who ran smack into G. Gordon Liddy (Harry Shearer) while sneaking out of Arlene's mom's (Terri Garr) Watergate apartment in hopes of meeting Tiger Beat's "Win a Date With Bobby Sherman" contest deadline. (Remember Bobby?) Later, on a school trip to the White House, the girls meet Henry Kissinger (a spot-on Saul Rubinek), John Haldeman (Dave Foley) and even Dick Nixon himself (Dan Hedaya), who offers the girls jobs as official White House dog-walkers. (Remember Checkers?) Privy to the inner workings of Nixon's secret government, the girls help stop the Vietnam War, restart the stalled 1972 peace accord with Brezhnev and teach the president how to make a peace sign. And when Betsy and Arlene's adolescent infatuation with tricky Dick is inevitably crushed, this clever little picture offers a neat metaphor for the disillusionment of an entire generation. Set against an avalanche of early-70s pop-culture detritus, including a classic AM radio soundtrack, it's a topical comedy that's about 25 years too late; a curious anachronism as daffy as a lava lamp, and just as indescribably irresistible. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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