(1997)

Critic Reviews

73

Metascore

Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
A gloriously cynical black comedy that functions as a wicked smart satire on the interlocking worlds of politics and show business, Wag the Dog confirms every awful thought you've ever had about media manipulation and the gullibility of the American public. And it has a great deal of fun doing it.
90
Dallas Observer
Director Barry Levinson has given this swift, sure-footed film a matter-of-fact, improvisational look and feel. To appreciate its brisk, confident, wild comedy, all you need is a funny bone and a BS meter.
80
The A.V. Club
Wag The Dog is an oft-hilarious, witty, scathing satire that represents four gifted if uneven artists (De Niro, Hoffman, Levinson, and Mamet) at the top of their respective games.
80
Chicago Reader
This is hilarious, deadly stuff, sparked by the cynical gusto of the two leads as well as the fascinating technical display of how TV "documentary evidence" can be digitally manufactured inside a studio.
75
Levinson's sure touch keeps audiences smiling and manages to maintain an aura of good nature in a film that, at heart, offers a caustic, almost bitter vision of American institutions and contemporary politics.
75
It's a testament to what happens when all the right ingredients come together. Wag the Dog is the best political satire in years.
75
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
WAG the Dog is a cozy political satire, the warm-and-fuzzy kind that is always entertaining yet never disturbing.
75
Christian Science Monitor
Barry Levinson's dark comedy is sly, funny, and unnerving.
60
Wag the Dog is such a crisply delivered political satire, so packed full of wickedly amusing details and expertly modulated performances and with its heart so obviously in the right place that I really, truly wish I could tell you it was also a good movie.
60
Empire
Written in part by David Mamet, Wag The Dog is a lovely idea, with credibility buoyed by its incredible timeliness. But, content with its initial premise, the movie lacks the necessary bite to develop the satire further, to the point where it's difficult to spot whether Washington or Hollywood is the target.

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