By Fred Harvey
The History Place
This is a cute little summer comedy about the
Watergate era that doesn't really have any big laughs, but is mildly amusing
Dick, directed by Andrew Fleming, can be
summed up in Hollywood lingo as Brady Bunch meets All the President's
Men. The film features two very appealing 1970's style teenyboppers,
Betsy and Arlene, played by Kirsten Dunst and the stunningly beautiful
Michelle Williams, who manage to get all tangled up with President Richard
A little historical background -- Watergate refers
to a break-in that occurred on the night of June 17, 1972, when
five burglars entered the Democratic National Committee offices at the
Watergate office complex in Washington. Subsequent investigations revealed
the burglars were actually agents hired by the Committee for the Re-election
of the President. A long chain of events then followed in which the President
and his top aides became involved in an extensive coverup of White House
sanctioned illegal activities. This ultimately led to President Nixon's
resignation on August 8, 1974.
Dick is a light-hearted spoof of these events and does not pretend
for a minute to be historically accurate or politically meaningful.
The film begins as the two girls run into G. Gorden
Liddy (Harry Shearer) inside the Watergate complex on the night of the
famous break-in. On a later White House tour with their school class, the
girls spot Liddy walking though the hallway and recognize him, quickly
bringing them to the attention of Nixon's top aide H.R. Haldeman (Dave
Foley) and then to the attention of President Nixon (Dan Hedaya) himself.
To help keep them quiet, they are hired by Nixon as official White House
dog walkers for his pooch, Checkers. This of course allows them to become
further entangled in everything.
Arlene soon develops a crush on Nixon and replaces
her Bobby Sherman posters in her bedroom with pictures of 'Dick.' To show
their affection, the girls bake special recipe cookies for him and unknowingly
add marijuana from pothead brother's stash.
This results in one of the funniest scenes as
Nixon, along with Henry Kissinger, and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, nibble
on cookies while conducting a big foreign policy meeting and wind up singing
Hello Dolly. Another good scene has the girls discovering one of
Nixon's secret tape recorders and then recording a long (18 1/2 minute)
love message to Dick.
But love is fickle, especially for these teenyboppers
and they have a nasty falling out with Dick after they listen to another
tape and discover what a foul-mouthed meanie he really is. They decide
to go all out against Nixon, now realizing he had been lying to them all
along - not about Watergate - but about his love of dogs. Turns out he
even hit Checkers.
Enter Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein
(Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch). Here, the film takes direct aim at
All the President's Men by recreating the newsroom scene in which
the reporters try to confirm who is involved in the coverup, this time
using the girls as sources. Meeting face to face at night in the vacant
parking garage, the girls gain a pivotal role in Nixon's demise and even
adopt the infamous code name, you guessed it, Deep Throat.
Rated PG-13 for language.