Imagine, if you will, that the entire Nixon presidency was actually brought down as a result of his being mean to his dog. Sound a bit far-fetched? That is just one of the many things you will learn from Dick, a hilarious alternative history lesson in the events surrounding the Watergate debacle.
When two not-so-brilliant young girls become unwittingly (to say the least) tangled in the cover-up of the Watergate burglary, President Richard Nixon (Dan Hedaya)-or 'Dick,' as he is so lovingly known-appoints them 'Official Whitehouse Dog Walkers' and 'Secret Youth Advisors' to keep them quiet. During their short tenure in the White House, they inadvertently see document-shredding and payoff sheets and hear tape recordings about the Watergate break-in. But once they discover that Nixon may not even like his dog, the girls decide that 'Tricky Dick' must go, and nothing is going to stand in their way. After all, we can't have a president who is mean to his dog.
Dick manages to land itself somewhere between All the President's Men and Clueless, with brilliant comic performances throughout. Hedaya does a very funny turn as Nixon and Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst are very good in the leads, but the true comic payoff lies in the performances by Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch as a bumbling Woodward and Bernstein. (Redford and Hoffman have nothing on these guys.)
Much credit must also go to writer-director Andrew Fleming for managing to capture the moment and have a lot of fun with the shadier details of the Nixon presidency. The film is a rare case of a comedy which is targeted toward an audience too young to remember the actual events but still manages to work brilliantly. Dick, along with Election from earlier this year, may just establish the teen political satire movie genre.
So, learn what 'really' happened to the now famous erased tapes, learn of Nixon's affinity for certain 'special' cookies, and even learn the identity of 'Deep Throat.' With recent events in the White House jamming up the news recently, it is nice to think that in a few years, maybe we can all look back and have a little laugh.