The chief spokesperson and lobbyist Nick Naylor is the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. He is talented in speaking and spins arguments to defend the cigarette industry in the most difficult situations. His best friends are Polly Bailey that works in the Moderation Council in alcohol business, and Bobby Jay Bliss of the gun business own advisory group SAFETY. They frequently meet each other in a bar and they self-title the M.O.D. Squad, a.k.a. Merchants of Death, disputing which industry has killed more people. Nick's greatest enemy is Vermont's Senator Ortolan Finistirre, who defends in the Senate the use of a skull and crossbones on cigarette packs. Nick's son Joey Naylor lives with his mother, and has the chance to know his father in a business trip. When the ambitious reporter Heather Holloway betrays Nick disclosing confidences he had in bed with her, his life turns upside-down. But Nick is good in what he does for the mortgage.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
First of all, sorry for the cheesy title. I couldn't help myself. Second of all, "Thank You for Smoking" is, in fact, a darn good satire - one of the best I've seen since "Election". Aaron Eckhart holds the picture together with a witty, charismatic performance as a tobacco lobbyist. The film is basically about his profession as he spins the news, pitches a movie idea, dodges a subpoena, has an affair with a reporter (Katie Holmes), tries to spend time with his son (Cameron Bright), and has lunch with an alcohol lobbyist (Maria Bello) and a firearms rep (David Koechner) - where they literally compare body counts. The performances are excellent across the board, from William H. Macy's crusading Senator to Rob Lowe's smirking Hollywood agent who struts around his office in a kimono. Even Adam Brody is enjoyable as Lowe's hyperactive assistant whose in-joke with a co-worker earned one of the biggest laughs of the movie.
The majority of the credit, however, needs to go to first-time feature director Jason (son of Ivan) Reitman. Adapting from Christopher Buckley's novel, Reitman has fashioned an enormously clever script, consistent and strong in character, yet not forgetting to be incredibly funny. The style is also perfect - brisk, light-hearted, with impeccable timing marred only by a tangental subplot including Sam Elliott that is, sadly, not very funny. Overall, however, the pace is fast enough where the laughs keep coming.
Reitman also does the unthinkable: he keeps the satire dark and funny to the very end. While most comedies stray blindly into the sentimental, "Thank You" avoids unnecessary emotional tripe and - thankfully - avoids sermonizing about the dangers of smoking or of the flaws of the political process. Eckhart's flawless performance and Reitman's wonderful screenplay anchor an uncommonly perceptive comedy, provided you take yours black. If you need a little cream and sugar, "Fun with Dick and Jane" might still be at the dollar theater.
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