AMERICA IS LIVING IN SPIN.
Tobacco industry lobbyist Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is faced with two challenges – coming up with a way to get modern consumers to spend more money on cigarettes, and getting to know his son (Cameron Bright) better. Ivan Reitman’s son Jason made his feature film debut with this impressive comedy, a clever, fast-paced predecessor to his brilliant Up in the Air (2009). Eckhart is perfect as the charming and smooth suit with a soul as black as a heavy smoker’s lung, and the cast is full of terrific actors, including Sam Elliott as the Marlboro Man. Corporate cynicism is hilariously spoofed, but Reitman knows just when to turn serious.
2006-U.S. 92 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by David O. Sacks. Written and directed by Jason Reitman. Novel: Christopher Buckley. Cast: Aaron Eckhart (Nick Naylor), Maria Bello (Polly Bailey), Adam Brody (Jack), Katie Holmes, Cameron Bright, Robert Duvall… William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, Sam Elliott, J.K. Simmons.
Trivia: Mel Gibson was allegedly once considered for the lead. The novelist’s father, famous conservative columnist William F. Buckley, died of emphysema caused by smoking; shortly before his death, he advocated a ban on tobacco.
Quote: “Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.” (Eckhart)
Last word: “‘Citizen Ruth’ had come out and I said, ‘This film needs to be like ‘Citizen Ruth’ but for smoking. Let’s make the film for $5 million.’ That weekend I wrote 25 pages, the first act. And they loved it – they said this is what we’re looking for. They hired me for scale, I went out and wrote it, they loved it. Mel Gibson even called me. I thought, within a year I’ll be shooting it for sure. And then … no one wanted to touch it. No one could really get over how much was already in it – over $1 million in writing that was never going to see the screen. And it was unapologetic. If I was willing to make it like ‘Liar, Liar’, where he realizes at the end he’s a bad guy, I could have made it, but I wasn’t willing to do that.” (Reitman, Moviefone)