Thank You for Smoking made quite a buzz when it came out this year. The political incorrectness mixed with biting social satire pleased audiences immensely. Thank You for Smoking is clever, almost so clever that it seems to be smirking smugly at the audience during the entire 91 minutes. It’s the visual equivalence of having someone sitting beside you nudging you in your ribs and saying, “You know what I mean,” through the whole film. The problem is that by the end, I didn’t know what the film meant. There doesn’t seem to be any particular stance on any issue in the film, but instead is just biting satire at everyone’s expense. Satire is great fun, but when everything is made ridiculous it leaves you feeling as though the filmmakers are on the fence, laughing at both sides. Since audiences are bound to enter the film with one opinion or the other, they to cannot leave the film unscathed.
Aaron Eckhart stars as Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for Big Tobacco, twisting the truth and charming people into believing that there is no proof that cigarettes are bad. He is ruthless in defending cigarette smoking which is seen when he visits his twelve-year-old son’s classroom and basically encourages the kids to try smoking, but equally wicked in attempting to win the tobacco war is Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy) who is on a war path against the addictive pastime. In an attempt to make smoking cool again Nick has a plan to invest in a film as long as the lead actor smokes through the whole film.
It took many years for this film to get made, but in the end director Jason Reitman ended up with a stellar cast which would not have been available when the project first started. Rob Lowe is a studio executive in
and Adam Brody
(The O.C.) is his assistant. Robert Duvall plays Nick’s boss and Katie Holmes
is a seductive reporter out to get the truth from Nick. Maria Bello and Sam
Elliot also have small roles. This film is packed with stars, which is almost a
fault at times. All of these actors are fantastic and their roles all seem
dramatically smaller than their talent deserves. Hollywood
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