The History Place - Movie Review


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 throughout.

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 M. Nixon.

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.

Dick - Official Website
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