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
You'll need to inhale, then exhale slowly and relax before plunging into the world of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), lobbyist and bag man for the Tobacco Industry. The laughs are some of the best abdominal exercise I've ever had at the movies. Thank You for Smoking is far and away the best satire to come out of Hollywood in years. The last attempt I remember was WAG THE DOG. This film is far better at true satire, its wit biting do-gooders and do-badders alike. It has been too long since Satire and the Politically Incorrect Sense of Humor have been allowed to point out the absurd in all sides of an issue. If you don't laugh out loud, your sense of humor has become a casualty of malpractice by the Doctors of Spin and the Nursemaids of Political Correctness.
Young Jason Reitman's direction and screenplay are deft and light. He is never heavy-handed, or worse, condescending (as may have happened more than once in WAG THE DOG). Based on a novel by Christopher Buckley (the son of William F. Buckley), the script is the star here. The double, triple, and sometimes quadruple entendres are spoken conversationally by a star-studded ensemble cast, who clearly revel in great material and great lines. Every reviewer opines that this will be Aaron Eckhart's break-out role. With his Dudley-Do-Right face and "that guy who always gets the girl----- on crack" charm and glibness, his Nick Naylor is the ultimate purveyor of the spin doctor's prescription: "the means justify the end".
The casting director should be congratulated in the same breath as the director. Rob Lowe as the "genius" behind Hollywood "EGO", a consultant firm which helps raise financing for movies with strategic product placement, is note-perfect in a "small role". With William H. Macy, the Vermont Senator who takes on the tobacco industry, Maria Bello, a fellow Merchant of Death lobbyist, and Robert Duvall, the "Captain" of this particular industry--- the cast is jaw-dropping, and sublimely funny. Katie Holmes, pre-TomKat, is gorgeous, seductive, and completely believable as the reporter who stops at nothing to get her story.
Nick Naylor's relationship with his son is the lens which focuses Nick on his own behavior. Even that relationship is not treated as a cliché, or completely reverently by the satirist, who remains true to the last frame to the goal of letting the air out of our self-righteousness. It is a breath of fresh air. I not only recommend it, I intend to see it again.
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