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Awesome: 31.68%
Worth A Look42.57%
Just Average: 7.92%
Pretty Crappy: 6.93%
Sucks: 10.89%

11 reviews, 35 user ratings

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Thank You for Smoking
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by Chris Wilson

"Not really edgy, just really funny."
4 stars

Smokers, non-smokers and those who somehow fit in some third category: go out and see Thank You for Smoking. Donít be afraid; this movie wonít teach you anything you didnít already know about smoking or the tobacco industry. It works as well as it does because the film skewers those who attack big tobacco equally as those who defend it. Hollywood, humanitarians and Congress all receive pointed jabs. Equality hasnít felt so refreshing for a long time!

Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart, a great underrated actor when given the right material) is the master of charm and spin; heís the top lobbyist for big tobacco, getting this job not through a fancy PhD but because of a certain ďmoral flexibilityĒ he possesses. Heís not evil; heís just the spokesman for it. Naylor works as the vice president of a firm called the Academy of Tobacco Studies, a research group whose star scientist is so brilliant that he can manage to not find a connection between smoking and lung cancer. Throughout the film, Naylor juggles pushing forward the tobacco industryís goals and raising his 12 year old son, who uses his fatherís teachings to win school debates.

It made me unendingly happy that the film didnít force our hate-ably lovable hero to undergo a Jerry McGuire-esque moral awakening. In fact, despicable as he is, I pretty much want to be Nick Naylor. Heís the most genuine, smooth-talking anti-hero to come out of Hollywood in ages. The film lacks a certain bite due to its universally accepted premise but there are plenty of great scenes, such as when anti-tobacco extremists kidnap Naylor and try to murder him with an overdose of nicotine patches. They inadvertently turn him into a figure of public sympathy when he survives due to his advanced tolerance built up through years of smoking. Naylor even spins his unlikely survival: he tells the press nicotine saved his life.

The writing in Thank You for Smoking is wit and sarcasm at its best. The only thing more impressive in the film is the cast that delivers the lines. From J.K. Simmons as Naylorís unscrupulous boss (ďWe sell cigarettes. And they're cool and available and addictive. The job is almost done for us.Ē) to Sam Elliott as the former Marlboro Man, the cast is top notch and each fits their part amazingly well Ė except Katie Holmes as a seductive reporter. Maybe itís the fact that she looks like a teenager to me. Maybe itís that she canít act (proven to us before in Batman Begins, Phone Booth, The Gift, her relationship with Tom Cruise). Whatever it is, she was the only letdown in a movie with nothing but letÖups.

I canít imagine someone not enjoying this movie. Okay, I can. I understand that some people just donít like cynical humor, and the message of personal choice isnít for everyone Ė fascists and commies namely. Regardless, Thank You for Smoking is cleverly written, perfectly cast and well acted (if you ignore Katie Holmes any time she opens her mouth). Iím running out of adjectives here so I thought Iíd get this out of the way: this movie is a smoking satire! Pun intended, you know? Yeah, thatís why I really shouldnít be paid to write.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12768&reviewer=400
originally posted: 04/02/06 18:46:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival For more in the 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/29/10 Simon Solid film,tho Reitman's direction/script too deliberate/cutesy at times, there's potential 4 stars
5/21/09 Jeff Wilder Not as biting as it could be. But works better as a satire than pap like American Dreamz, 4 stars
4/20/08 art AN EXCELLENT SATIRE 4 stars
10/18/07 Jake H laughed all the way through it 5 stars
10/03/07 The Film Maker You're welcome! 3 stars
7/14/07 Bitchflaps Not all that funny, and pretty lightweight stuff for the "biting satire" it was hyped to be 2 stars
6/30/07 LC3 A humorous look at the criminal language of control on all fronts. A must see! 5 stars
6/07/07 Black Smoke A quality satire about the stupidity of current society 4 stars
5/19/07 Vann Helms Embarrassing plot; no one ever smokes 1 stars
4/01/07 fools♫gold high-handed, high-hearted, and highbrowed 5 stars
1/30/07 Albert Stone Hillarious stuff, great satire. I loved it. 5 stars
12/02/06 Monday Morning One of the smartest satires I've ever seen. Hilarious, too. 5 stars
10/24/06 Drew G Aaron Eckharts best film yet 4 stars
10/14/06 Phil M. Aficionado Absolutely the right tone and look and mood; terrific and meaningful satire. 4 stars
10/06/06 jwil best satire in years; disregard the one star comments 5 stars
8/25/06 michael dont let the title scare you away 4 stars
8/25/06 helen bradley very slow slow paced poor scritping boring boring 1 stars
7/06/06 pym Very funny, wonerfully sarcastic, great message: freedom of personal choice. 5 stars
5/21/06 Denise Bauman I enjoyed it. 4 stars
5/10/06 Joel Hoffman Very funny and quick witted. Never a dull moment. I really enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
5/06/06 luke funny, smart. very good film. 5 stars
4/27/06 Jen Wilson Not bad... not sure I would see it again, though 3 stars
4/22/06 Mase Everything you can ask for, from a smart political movie with a topnotch cast. 5 stars
4/22/06 Ryan well cast, light but thoughtful humor 4 stars
4/21/06 Suzz As funny as lung cancer; boring; poorly written; does well by nutcase conservatives 1 stars
4/18/06 Annie G A fascinating look at lobbyists. Funny and thoughtful. 4 stars
4/16/06 Agent Sands Any movie that makes the bad guy look good to the point where it's funny; that's a movie!!! 5 stars
3/30/06 Marco Pole Tired witless banter... Why is it getting attention? Director is Son of Ivan Reitman.. 1 stars
3/27/06 Danny Johanson A great satire! 5 stars
3/12/06 Jack Absolutely amazing. Just saw a screening at the USCAF 5 stars
9/16/05 jim A must see! An excellent film. 5 stars
9/12/05 Alex Brisbourne Excellent script, engagingly constructed 4 stars
9/12/05 Trish Great Movie - saw at TO International Film Fest 4 stars
9/10/05 A Hayes Brilliant 5 stars
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  17-Mar-2006 (R)
  DVD: 03-Oct-2006



Directed by
  Jason Reitman

Written by
  Jason Reitman

  Aaron Eckhart
  Maria Bello
  Sam Elliott
  Katie Holmes
  William H. Macy
  Rob Lowe

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