From my review in The American Conservative (not online) of the film opening Friday, April 6:
Now, "The Hoax" rounds out cinematic Howard Hughes lore with a comic biopic of novelist Clifford Irving (played by Richard Gere), the scamster who brought the world's Hughes obsession to a crescendo in 1971-72 when he extracted huge advances from the greedy and credulous New York publishing and magazine industries for The Autobiography of Howard Hughes. ...
Exciting more controversy is the film's claim that Irving's fake autobiography helped inspire the Watergate break-in at the headquarters of Democratic National Committee chairman Larry O'Brien, who, possibly not coincidentally, had been Hughes' chief lobbyist.
While overstated, this is not wholly implausible. Nixon had several shady links to Hughes, such as the tycoon's unsecured $205,000 loan to his brother Donald's Nixonburger restaurant chain. Nixon believed the revelation of this dubious deal may have cost him the exceedingly close 1960 election. A decade later, according to his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, Nixon was irrationally obsessed with plumbing the relationship between Hughes and O'Brien.
The truth is that we still don't really understand Watergate, mostly because, in sharp contrast to the JFK assassination, the media haven't been all that interested in finding out precisely what happened. The good guys won and bad guys lost, they reason, so why bother with details that might muddy the glorious memory?
It's hard to remember now, but JFK conspiracy theories were highly respectable in the media from the early 1970s until Oliver Stone's 1991 film "JFK" came out, at which point they became unfashionable. And yet, it was always likely that either the FBI or CIA or both had played a larger role in the overthrow of Nixon than in the Kennedy assassination, as was confirmed in 2005 by the revelation that the FBI's #2 man, J. Edgar Hoover loyalist W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat. But, nobody was ever very interested in Watergate after Nixon resigned.