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Burn After Reading (2008)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 205,288 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 529 user | 329 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ted
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CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)
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J.R. Horne ...
Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
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Storyline

Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, is fired at the CIA, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A diskette falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for elective surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

memoir | gym | cia | embassy | divorce | See more »

Taglines:

A high stakes love life and Jewel CIA shelter. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quémese después de leerse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,045,565 (UK) (17 October 2008)

Gross:

$60,338,891 (USA) (19 December 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The building that was turned into the Hardbodies gym in the film was found in Paramus, New Jersey. The crew did such a good job with it that locals came in to inquire about membership. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, when the CIA supervisor opens & closes a file marked "Top Secret", the file's cover-sheet is outlined in red. This is an error because the cover-sheet of all "Top Secret" classified files are outlined in orange. Red is saved for the cover-sheets of all classified files marked "Secret" and blue is used for the cover-sheets of all classified files marked "Confidential". See more »

Quotes

Palmer DeBakey Smith, CIA Officer: [first lines - greeting his arrival] Ozzie, come on in.
Osbourne Cox: Palmer, what's up?
Palmer DeBakey Smith, CIA Officer: Uh, you know, uh, Peck and Olson?
Osbourne Cox: Peck yes, hi ya...
Palmer DeBakey Smith, CIA Officer: Olson by reputation.
Osbourne Cox: [to Olson] I'm Osbourne Cox.
Olson: Yeah, I, mmm...
Osbourne Cox: Aren't you with...
Palmer DeBakey Smith, CIA Officer: Ya, that's right. Have a seat.
Palmer DeBakey Smith, CIA Officer: Look Oz, look, there's no easy way to say this: We're taking you off the Balkans Desk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As usual, the Coen Brothers edited this film under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes See more »

Connections

Spoofs Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Picked Up (Niyi Remix)
Written by Tiff McGinnis (as T.McGinnis)
Performed by Tiff McGinnis (as Crazy Girl)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another Hit from the genius of the Coens.
4 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's a point in this movie that George Clooney's character, Harry Pfarrer shows Frances McDormand's character Linda Litzke something that we've seen him working on for about half the movie. It was so surprising when I first saw it, that at first, I didn't even know what it was.

Once again, the Coens have created wonderful characters, including Clooney, who is a womanizer and paranoid that people are following him, and McDormand, who just wants plastic surgery in order to look better. Also, there's John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox, who "doesn't have a drinking problem," and maybe the best in the movie, Brad Pitt as Chad, a clueless gym employee who is pushed along by McDormand.

The only character that isn't up to par with the rest is Tilda Swinton's character of Katie Cox, Osbourne's wife. She doesn't get as many laughs as the rest, and it seems like the Coens just needed her as a plot device rather than an actual character. However, she may not be funny, but she does play the character well.

The writing is brilliant and the Coens weave the story in such a way that it reminds me of their previous movie, The Big Lebowski. In the end, as J.K. Simmons character sums it up himself, nothing really happens, but while watching it all unfold, you can't help but laugh at the absurdity.


231 of 436 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How many times did you laugh? Eric_Thompsan
How Stupid Do the Coens Think We Are? giarmomatthew
What don't people like about this movie? blueirony
What happened to Brad Pitt's body? jimmyjameson8
Is Osborne Cox the biggest a-hole in movie history? trivial_matt
Any other teenagers like this? billyfws
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