With talent like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche and William H. Macy in front of the camera, Barry Levinson at the helm and David Mamet on board as a co-writer, fans of smart satire prayed that Wag the Dog would live up to its promise. Happily, it did. The storyline is amusing enough: a spin doctor (De Niro) and a movie producer (Hoffman) cook up a fake war in order to whip the American public into a patriotic frenzy and, incidentally, distract the citizenry from a Presidential sex scandal. But what keeps Wag the Dog both relevant and beguiling 15 years after its release is its air of plausibility. There will never be a lack of shameless, venal, not-very-bright politicians, the movie suggests: the trick is to not let their shameless, venal, far-smarter handlers play us for fools.