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Thank You for Smoking

A movie directed by Jason Reitman

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Like watching a shark eat a school of hapless fish

  • Oct 29, 2008
  • by
'Thank You For Smoking' is a satire/comedy of the industry of Big Tobacco. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, and calls himself the Colonel Sanders of Nicotine. He's divorced, but stays very involved in Joey's (his twelve year old son) life. Joey (Cameron Bright - Running Scared, The Butterfly Effect) looks up to his father, often seeing him in a Godlike way.

Nick belongs to what they call the MOD Squad (Merchants Of Death). He and his two friends, Polly Bailey (Maria Bello - Secret Window) who works for the Moderation Council and is an alcoholic, and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner) who works for SAFETY (The Society for the Advancement of Firearms and Effective Training for Youth), meet for lunch one a week and discuss the deaths related to their current jobs.

The movie begins with Nick appearing on the Joan Lunden show, against anti-tobacco groups and a young boy suffering from tobacco related cancer. Nick, the best of the spin-artists, walks away smelling like a rose. On his case over his defense of Big Tobacco is Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), who leads a sub-committee dedicated to labeling cigarettes with the skull and crossbones poison symbol.

Nick, while waiting for the sub-committee hearing, travels to see The Captain (Robert Duvall), head of the tobacco company and founder of Nick's employer. Nick's boss stole his idea to use Hollywood to promote tobacco (by getting stars to smoke on screen) and the Captain wants Nick to fly to California to get the ball rolling. Taking Joey along, Nick meets with Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe), a Hollywood super agent who heads up EGO (Entertainment Global Offices). (Jeff and the whole Hollywood scene is so over-the-top "typical" that it's hilarious) Jeff and Nick agree on 25 Million dollars to get Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones to smoke on screen after a futuristic $ex scene. (unbelievable!) While in California, he takes a huge money payoff to the original Marlboro Man Lorne Lutch (Sam Elliott) who's now dying of lung cancer. He also appears on the Dennis Miller show against Senator Finistirre, and receives a death threat from a caller.

Nick comments on his life as being the most hated person on Earth. It's pretty much true. He's kidnapped, stripped, covered in nicotine patches and left at the Lincoln statue. He almost dies and can never smoke again because of the overdose, but spins it into how cigarettes saved his life because a non-smoker would have died. The reporter he's dating, Heather, takes all their private pillow talks and publishes an extremely derogatory article about him. (You'll have to watch the movie to see how he pays her back) Nick has to balance his life between his moral-less job and being a father to his son. The things he teaches Joey aren't right or wrong but how to win, an approach Joey's mother disapproves of.

Whether you're a non-smoker or even a smoker, the actions of the Big Tobacco will make you red with fury. Eckhart plays a good role as Nick, totally unconcerned with his job as lobbyist for a known killer. (as expressed in the meetings of the MOD Squad) Though not based on a true story or even real statistical facts, the casual way Big Tobacco treats their "customer's" lives rings true. Adding in Polly and Bobby Ray as advocates of alcohol and firearms holds a certain irony to the film. Though the movie has a good premise (as far as satire goes) and an excellent cast who all perform well, it never quite advances itself into either comedy or drama. The pace is a little to slow, and the debates not long enough or heated enough. It's interesting enough if you want to watch a benignly evil man do his effort to spread poison, but not worthy of a purchase. Rent first. Enjoy!
Thank You For Smoking

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More Thank You for Smoking reviews
review by . September 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 stars: To smoke or not to smoke that is the question?
From 1575 to the present, there have always been those who have opposed the use of tobacco from Mexico to the Ottoman Empire to Bavaria, Kursachsen, and certain parts of Austria in the late 1600s. Some form of Government in some part of the world has always tried to ban or outlaw the use of tobacco. In the 1500s the Catholic Pope Urban VII in particular threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a …
Quick Tip by . February 08, 2011
Slick talking tobacco lobbyist teaches his son the fine art of spinning topics and faces continuous hate from the public. Smart funny and even a little manipulative at times.
Quick Tip by . September 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   A smooth, charming, and outrageously funny look into the lives of the big companies that supply America with some its deadliest products and the people who try to oppose Director/ writer  Jason Reitman(Son of director Ivan Reitman) paints a cynical, searing and intelligent portage of   the world of big business, politics  bans and  most of all, smoking. "Thank you for Smoking" is one of the best films of the last decade and one of the best political&nb …
Quick Tip by . September 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
i really enjoyed Nick Nailer and Rob Lowe's character (cant remember his name). every time i think about him in the kimono it makes me laugh and i wonder what time it is in Tokyo. highly recommend this one.
Quick Tip by . September 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An excellent movie that is a refreshing change that shows a representative of the tobacco industry in a sympathetic light. This movie does not take sides and focuses on the characters. Eckhart gives a great performance as a tobacco industry spokesman who is torn between what his job requires him to do, what society wants out of his industry, and being a role model for his son. He is a perfect fit for the dark humor used throughout this film.
review by . April 27, 2009
Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is a lobbyist for the tobacco industry; he's very good at spinning facts and convincing people that smoking is their American right. His young son isn't so sure about the ethics of Dad's job, however.     This is a very funny, sarcastic movie. I've seen Eckhart before but was never impressed, until now. He is perfect as the fast-talking lobbyist with his dazzling smile and charismatic charm. The cast is full of good actors in small but witty roles: …
review by . February 17, 2007
Once in a while a movie comes along that totally tears apart the society that spawned it thru the use of wit, irony, sarcasm and pointed remarks. This comedy is one of these movies. The movie revolves around the life and career of Nick Naylor, PR person for Big Tobacco, and begins with him taking on and taking out his political opponents live on a national talk show. We then come to see him comment and explain his work to his son, his son's classmates, his counterparts in the alcohol and firearms …
review by . October 05, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
The fact that everyone (well, almost) will do anything for money - the mortgage must be paid - is only one of the subversive elements placed on the table of this bitingly satirical film. Based on the very edgy novel by Christopher Buckley, director Jason Reitman has adapted the story for the screen, populated his diatribe with a fine cast of actors, and directs the whole concept with deft precision. While many not familiar with the book's bite will be put off by the title, rest assured that no one …
review by . April 28, 2006
Pros: Fast paced, very balanced satire. So funny. Thought provoking, but not condescending.     Cons: Great messages here, but the kids won't be seeing this one.     The Bottom Line: This film will work your cerebral cortex and your funny bone at the same time. Fantastic.     I just got back from seeing “Thank you for Smoking”, the story of a smooth-talking lobbyist for the tobacco industry. This fast-paced movie is “seriously” …
review by . December 12, 2006
"Thank You for Smoking" was an entertaining movie. I enjoyed the portrayal of corporate shenanigans and its satire of Hollywood types. The acting was good and all players did their jobs well but I was a bit put off by the smirking 'we're so smart and hip attitude' of the movie. A bit of humbleness is appealing you know. Some say the subject matter in this film i.e. to smoke or not to smoke is equally weighed. I personally didn't feel that way at all. I felt the overall tone for the movie was geared …
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Ranked #47
I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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