Wag the Dog
The story of a trio of slicksters—a political spin doctor (Robert De Niro), a presidential aide (Anne Heche), and a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman)—who fake a war to boost the popularity of a scandal-ridden prez, Wag the Dog rides its can-you-top-this cynicism right to the end. Along the way it spins a rip-roaring fable dotted with memorable zingers (penned by Hilary Henkin and Glengarry Glen Ross playwright David Mamet) and distinguished performances from its ensemble of actors. Hoffman is unexpectedly sublime as a flamboyant, anachronistic film producer, almost childlike in his complete self-absorption and inability to conceive of the consequences of his Machiavellian mischief. The movie, shot in a swift 29 days by Barry Levinson (coming back, like fellow Rain Man alum Hoffman, from a recent slump), has a lot of fun with the kaleidoscopic possibilities of the new media technology.