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DICK ($25) is a very amusing spoof of Watergate and the last days of Richard Nixon's Presidency that features an unlikely duo who bring about the ousting of "Tricky Dick" from the White House. Set in 1972, DICK tells the story of two clueless 15-year-old girls who inadvertently stumble upon the Watergate break in. While the significance of what happened at the Watergate doesn't register on the girls, the White House sees them as a potential threat. Conveniently, the girls show up at the White House for a school field trip, at which time they are given a "private tour" of the West Wing to find out just what they know. Convinced that they know absolutely nothing, President Nixon decides anyway to keep them on a short leash by offering the job of "Official White House Dog Walkers." Of course, with access to the White House, the girls coming into contact with all sorts of information, including those choice bits that made Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein household names.

While the plot of DICK is certainly cute and funny on its own, it is the film's terrific cast that really makes the material fly. Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams are an absolute delight as two typical teenage girls who become part of one of the most significant political events of the 20th century. Their energetic performances set the tone for this delightfully daffy comedy. Dan Hedaya does a dead-on impression of President Richard M. Nixon, which is hysterically funny without making the former president appear buffoonish. Speaking of buffoonish, Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch do a number on Woodward and Bernstein that had me laughing out loud. After seeing Ferrell and McCulloch do Woodward and Bernstein, watching ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN with a straight face is going to be a rather difficult proposition. Also getting a big thumbs up for their performances are Dave Foley as Bob Haldeman, Harry Shearer as G. Gordon Liddy and Saul Rubinek who makes an amazing Henry Kissinger. The cast of DICK also features Teri Garr, Jim Breuer, Ana Gasteyer, Devon Gummersall, Ted McGinley, Ryan Reynolds and G.D. Spradlin.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has made DICK available on DVD in both full screen and wide screen presentations offered on opposite sides of the disc. While there is little wrong visually with the full screen presentation, other than the compromised aspect ratio, most individuals will want to savor the terrific 16:9 enhanced wide screen version of DICK. DICK looks tremendous in its full 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, thanks to a truly superb transfer that is very sharp and finely detailed. Color reproduction doesn't get much better than this; every richly saturated hue is recreated without any signs of noise or distortion, plus the flesh tones appear exceedingly healthy. Blacks are deep and solid; in addition, the image has very smooth contrast. Digital compression artifacts are completely unnoticeable on this well authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a typical comedy mix that is a little light on directional effects, especially in the surround channels. Still, the soundtrack has a very pleasant mix that highlights a number of classic seventies songs, as well as offering a very open forward soundstage. There is an occasional use of split surround effects, but the rear channels primarily provide ambience. Dialogue is well recorded and cleanly reproduced. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles.

The interactive menus have an attractive design, but are rather standard in their implementation. Through the menu system one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the disc's extras. There is an audio commentary with director Andrew Fleming and screenwriter Sheryl Longin, which could have really used the energy level of the film's two lead actresses to help it along. Most folks are going to find this commentary more than a little on the slow side. Additionally, DICK includes an isolated music soundtrack, which is fun for its 5.1 channel mix. Extras also feature a deleted scene, a short making-of featurette, a 13-minute blooper reel, theatrical trailers and talent files.

DICK is a little comic gem that a lot of folks may have overlooked theatrically, now they have the chance to see it at home in a first class presentation. Don't miss DICK on DVD.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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