In a nutshell, it's a satire on the smoking lobby. Yet it's so well-written that it doesn't greatly denigrate any of the players, except through the film's nature as satire.
The lead is played by one Aaron Eckhart - not exactly a household name, despite apparently being around the traps for a while. This must be his breakthrough role. He's ideal: warm, confident, sincere, and charismatic. All that, and he's devoid of ethics. The cast is full of these people; actors who are right on the money, a treasure to watch their performance. Special mention must go to Adam Brody [Jack], but Rob Lowe, JK Simmons, Katie Holmes and Cameron Bright also do very well in that same style.
Of course, there's magic in the script. The lines are all there; the consistency never lets up.
“That's the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you're never wrong. ”
And so it goes.
I fully intend to see this film again before its season finishes. It's one of the few films I've seen that engages me fully from beginning to end and has enough content to engage me again.
(I can only think of only two other films I saw again in the first season: Matrix and Memento. Both were rated a high 8.6 on IMDB.)