Dave's Rating:


… mostly-funny-but-still-soft …

Who's in It: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Rob Lowe

The Basics: In this mostly-funny-but-still-soft satire, Eckhart is a Teflon-coated tobacco lobbyist who buys all his own B.S. and never lets the facts deter him from his sacred mission: to sell the poisonous product to as many people as possible.

What's the Deal? Now that we have The Daily Show on TV four nights a week, it's not enough just to make a movie satirizing a corporate wrongdoer. It's not enough for it to contain a reasonable share of chuckles. It's got to kill. It's got to be laser-sharp and pitch-black and leave you breathless from laughing. Otherwise, it's just "Wow, isn't the tobacco industry's hypocrisy funny?"

What's Good Here: First-time director Jason Reitman (son of Ivan) is sort of happily all over the place, just throwing the spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. It's heavy on the one-liners and really, considering the lack of those in most comedies these days, it's a welcome overload.

What's Not: Sometimes in comedies, the filmmakers let that extra beat of silence pass by after a joke, hoping you'll fill it with laughter. And if they do it too much, it becomes noticeable, just empty space. That happens here. Worse, it's a little too proud of itself for its subject matter. And then there's Katie Holmes …

The Hardest-Working Kid in Show Business: Cameron Bright, who's already had three movies come out this year: this one, Ultraviolet and Running Scared.


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