Christopher Buckley's 1994 novel about Washington spin doctors has been adapted to the screen by first-time director Jason Reitman, who pares away its institutional detail but preserves its libertarian zeal and acid satire of Beltway amorality. Aaron Eckhart (In the Company of Men) plays a fast-talking spokesperson for the tobacco industry who earns his pay making black look white. Except for Katie Holmes as a muckraking reporter, the supporting players are all perfectly cast: Robert Duvall as an aging tobacco lion, Rob Lowe as a vain Hollywood superagent, William H. Macy as a persnickety liberal senator, Sam Elliott as a cancer-ridden Marlboro man, and Maria Bello and David Koechner as Eckhart's cocktail buddies, fellow spin doctors for the alcohol and gun lobbies who compete with him for bragging rights to the greatest number of premature deaths. R, 92 min.
By J.R. Jones