Wednesday, August 4, 1999


Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 1999 at 12:00 AM

The excitement among the political press corps when the Lewinsky story broke was palpable: A new generation of reporters would get their very own Watergate and the opportunity to walk in the shoes of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. But as Clinton headed toward impeachment and the public showed disgust not just with the political process but the very media covering it, the gleeful expressions turned to confusion. "This is a huge story but no one seems to care," they pontificated – what went wrong?

Although it isn’t up to Dick to answer that question, this light-hearted political satire from writer-director Andrew Fleming (Threesome, The Craft) will inevitably be burdened with fall-out from the scandal. After Monica, the idea that girls could gain access to the president and acquire the kind of information that could bring him down doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Fifteen-year-old best friends Betsy Jobs (Kirsten Dunst) and Arlene Lorenzo (Michelle Williams) literally stumble upon important state secrets – first in the Watergate building and later at the White House during a school group tour – but have no idea of their significance. When they meet Richard M. Nixon (Dan Hedaya), he recognizes the girls as a potential threat to security. Nixon employs them as White House dog walkers and "unofficial youth advisers" so he can keep a close eye on them.

At first, the girls love secrets and their powerful new friends. Arlene even develops an immense crush on Tricky Dick himself. But dark clouds appear over Eden when they hear the real Nixon on the Oval Office tapes. In no time, they’ve become Deep Throat, feeding information to Woodward (Will Ferrell) and Bernstein (Bruce McCulloch), hilariously depicted as backstabbing opportunists.

Andrew Fleming wisely chooses not to belabor the parallels between then and now, which allows Dick to stand on its own. By mining humor from the social and political climate of the early ’70s – and not telegraphing its eventual repercussions – Fleming creates a nifty little story about innocence transformed into experience instead of cynicism. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.

Serena Donadoni writes about film for the Metro Times. E-mail her at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

March 3, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation