*** GM
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Dave Foley, Will Ferrell, Bruce McCulloch, Harry Shearer, Saul Rubinek


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This movie is nuts.

It must be given points for the sheer goofiness it takes make a movie about two teenage ditzes actually being the downfall of one of the most nefarious presidents ever. And whoever thought Nick Tortelli from "Cheers" could play Nixon? (perhaps the same people who thought Hannibal Lecter could play him, but I digress)

Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams play Besty and Arlene, two idiot girls that manage to stumble into becoming the legendary "Deep Throat" figure in the Watergate scandal. Dan Hedaya plays a pretty good Nixon, and it seems like the cast of Saturday Night Live and The Kids In The Hall play everyone else.

I decided this movie was WRONG when Arlene gets a huge, ridiculous teenage crush (the kind usually reserved, in 1973, for Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy or something) on Richard goddamn Nixon, going so far as to fantasize about riding on a white horse with him and dancing on the beach together. It's hilarious, but it's just WRONG.

Will Ferrell, who alternately amuses the piss out of me and really friggin' bugs me, fortunately manages the former as he portrays Bob Woodward, and Bruce McCulloch, who always amuses me, plays Carl Bernstein, and the two form a really good couple o' comic jackasses. I'd only seen bits of "All The President's Men," and that's all I needed to appreciate the send-up of Redford and Hoffman - and Woodward and Bernstein in general as two bickering dorks.

Dunst and Williams are also pretty kooky and enjoyable as the ditzes in question, stumbling around through the White House and around all the key players and not understanding any of it. It's a bit distracting for all these SNL people to keep popping up, though, because it occasionally makes the movie feel like a huge sketch - which I suppose it is, in a sense. Standard SNL procedure would be 'take something in the news, do something weird to it, and voila! It's comedy!' Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time, it usually succeeds.

There are some slow bits, but that usually just gave me time to think about how completely ridiculous this film is, and that notion alone made me laugh. Dave Foley as Haldeman! Harry Shearer as G. Gordon Liddy! Saul Rubinek as Henry Kissenger! Nixon and Brezhnev eating hash cookies and singing showtunes! The sheer absurdity of those images are almost better than the images themselves, and it does make for a pretty good movie.

I'm sure the soundtrack will sell well.

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