Anthony LaPaglia makes a terrific Nixon, but Douglas McGrath's attempt at contemporary resonance comes up short.
The no-neck, round-shouldered posture and the bulldog expression are the first things that register about Anthony LaPaglia as Richard Nixon. Next is the voice, suggesting rather than imitating the famous intonations, and finally, the psychological shadings are sketched in. Kathryn Erbe applies similar gradations to shaping Pat Nixon, guiding her from a chirpy Donna Reed-like caricature to a vulnerable woman whose dignity is offset by a deep well of melancholy. Both actors deserve a less superficial play than Douglas McGrath's Checkers.
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