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Thank You For Smoking (2005)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Widescreen)
Genres:
Comedy, Satire
Director:
Jason Reitman Jason Reitman
Starring:
Joan Lunden Joan Lunden
Eric Haberman Eric Haberman
Aaron Eckhart Aaron Eckhart
Mary Jo Smith Mary Jo Smith
Todd Louiso Todd Louiso

7.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 18, 2006
Saw this picture a few weeks back, but am only now sitting down to write a review for it, which I do apologize for in a sincere way. This was a film that I had been waiting anxiously to see for months before I finally got the opportunity, and I must say that it was well worth the wait. "Thank You for Smoking" is the kind of cynical nourishment that my body craved, and it delivered it in staggering doses. This is the kind of film that makes your mouth drop when you are watching. Why? Because you can't believe they are doing what they are doing and saying what they are saying. There are several of those moments in this film, all propelling this film into my early Top Ten list contention for the year. Who knows what will happen by December's end, but "Thank You for Smoking" is a strong contender for one of my early favorites. It is that good.

Aaron Eckhart stars as Nick Naylor, the spokesperson for Big Tobacco. He knows exactly what to say, when to say it, and to whom to say it. He loves his job and takes pride in his ability to win any argument. Cameron Bright stars as Joey, his impressionable son who wants to learn more about what his father does. When Joey accompanies his Dad on a trip to convince a dying man (Sam Elliot) - the original Marlboro Man - that he should take a cash settlement, things get a little rough. Rob Lowe stars as Jeff Megall, a Hollywood super-agent with an affinity for Japanese garments and a knack for making cigarettes and Brad Pitt co-mingle on-screen. Katie Holmes plays Heather Holloway, a reporter who sleeps with Nick for a story and ends up causing him more trouble that she was worth. And, Maria Bello and David Koechner round out Nick's group known as the M.O.D. Squad - Merchants of Death - representing Big Tobacco, the alcohol industry, and firearms. The ensemble is rounded out by J.K. Simmons, Robert Duvall, Adam Brody, and William H. Macy. The film really isn't pro-tobacco or anti-tobacco, it's just plain cynical…and just plain funny. That's enough.

What I loved so much about "Thank You for Smoking" was how it never really chose a definitive side. Much would have you believe that the film is pro-tobacco, what with Nick's opening sequence in which he brings a dying child onto his team and the sequence where he convinces a dying man that he should forgo pride and take a pay-off. Alas, you might also be led to believe that the film is anti-tobacco, with Nick's final decision to stay away from his job. If I had to choose, I would say pro-tobacco over anti-tobacco, but that is not really the point of the film. "Thank You for Smoking" is about a man who is the king of bullshit - the king of changing peoples minds. This film is about his relationship with his son, his relationship with his friends, and his belief that you are never wrong if you argue correctly. This might seem like a rather seedy way to live a life, but it works fine for Nick Naylor in this film, and it makes for solid entertainment.

In terms of performances, Aaron Eckhart deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance here, hands down. He carries the film on his shoulders and demonstrates why he was such a rising star a couple of years ago before temporarily floundering with a couple of ill-fated film choices. Maria Bello and David Koechner provide some of the biggest laughs as his best friends in the world, the representatives for firearm and alcohol. William H. Macy is hysterical as the determined Senator, and Rob Lowe has a lot of fun with his role as the super-agent who has some of the best dialogue in the script. All of the performances here are sterling, but it is Eckhart whom most will remember upon walking out of the theatre and back into the real world. I wish more ensemble comedies would take a note from Jason Reitman and this film - here's looking at you "American Dreamz". That is a perfect example of how this cynical formula can sometimes fail.

In 2006, I have seen a few standout films, and "Thank You for Smoking" barrels in close to the top of the list. Don't think that, because it took me so long to post a review for this film, that it means any less to me. I was busy. I was neglectful. I am apologetic. This film is creative, original, mean, nasty, cynical, satirical, sarcastic, and all out entertainment. If you watch the film, you might not think it is the best thing you've seen this year, but you will be hard pressed to say it isn't the most entertaining. "Thank You for Smoking" had me busting a gut, and that is something films rarely accomplish. With all of the worthless comedy at the box office nowadays, wouldn't it be nice to find a winner? Look no further - "Thank You for Smoking" is the champion of 2006.

9.5/10.
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Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #1: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 12/22/2007, 10:51 AM
There is much satirical commentary to be found with plenty of great witticisms, but I felt that some of the humor was just too easy and fell a bit short in turn. As much as I did like it, it's a shame that Cameron Bright's jarring performance ruins the replay value.
7.5/10
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