Hoping for positive publicity, a tobacco company offers $25 million to any American town that quits smoking for 30 days. Amidst a media frenzy, Eagle Rock, Iowa accepts the challenge while the company's PR man tries to sabotage the effort.
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Reverend Brooks leads the town in a contest to stop smoking for a month, But some tobacco executives don't want them to win, and try everything they can to make them smoke. If townspeople don't go nuts, from wanting a cigarette, or kill each other from irritation and frustration, they will win a huge prize. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
What happens when an evil tobacco company offers $25,000,000 to an entire town to stop smoking for thirty days? What happens when 4,006 heavy smokers from Eagle Rock, Iowa take up the challenge? See more »
Incredibly Funny Movie, But Why Was Everybody Amused By The Dog-Kicking Moment?
Never was the human limitations tested as they were in this film, when the town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, must quit smoking for 30 days to win a foolish challenge proposed by a big tobacco company. As Parent Trap became a strange testimony on how divorce affects children, so has Cold Turkey become a statement on addiction and withdrawal, with humorous results.
Dick Van Dyke is the town minister who finds himself caught up leading the fray; first he must develop an addiction, then join his neighbors in quitting. Barnard Hughes is the town doctor, who cannot quit smoking at all. The fight with his wife over the ashtrays in the car brings a smile to my face everytime. Bob Newhart is the tobacco company representative who must now get someone to start smoking so they will lose the bet. Pippa Scott is Van Dyke's wife, Natalie, who endures some of the most verbal spousal abuse, laced with concern and mock sincerity ("There's a demon in you, Natalie. Why are you working against me, Natalie?"), that I have ever heard. Scott only has one scene with dialogue. Jean Stapleton, Vincent Gardenia, Paul Benedict, Barbara Cason, Tom Poston and Graham Jarvis also appear in various roles. And yes, Bob and Ray spoof many of the newscasters who were popular at that time with hilarious results. They do it so well and are both so unassuming, you will not realize it is the same two guys over and over again. But the town's withdrawal is hysterical as well. I will always love when the crossing guard screams at the little girl. And the auto smash-up that happens just before the dog-kicking incident will hold your undivided attention. Finally, the town council is told if they can wait another day or so, the president of the United States himself, then Richard Nixon, will present Eagle Rock with the prize money. The council's reaction is absolutely brilliant. Add to all of this a typical Randy Newman song, 'He Gives Us All His Love', played at the beginning, the end and when Dick Van Dyke realizes the town is caught up in its own celebrity as he watches over a dozen children run by wearing masks of his own face. They just don't make films like this one anymore.
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