Thank You for Smoking (2005) Poster

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bitcetc24 March 2006
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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"Thank You" for a good satire!
paxatron25 March 2006
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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A Nicotine Kick in satire and sarcasm
Flagrant-Baronessa19 September 2006
EDITED to omit reported 'spoilers'. And by spoilers I don't mean the "Bruce Willis is dead" type, but "Bruce Willis is bald" types. *sigh*

Some jobs are harder than others but Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), tobacco industry spokesman, handles his with effortless skill. Along with two other spokespeople for the alcohol- and firearms industry respectively, he is part of the self-appointed M.O.D. squad ("Merchants of Death") whose main objective is to talk. To BS. To spin. To confuse and convince their opponent, and charm their audience. A job of such nature naturally requires a certain moral flexibility, and with smooth-talk and sex appeal, it is apparent that Nick is incredibly gifted in this area.

He goes on TV-shows, verbally battles U.S. senators, deems the Cancer Research Foundation "arseholes" – all the while trying to set an example for his 10-year-old son. This is naturally very difficult, doing what he does. So as Big Tobacco (for whom he is a lobbyist) launches a campaign to reinstate the "cool smoking" image into mainstream Hollywood, and sends Nick to work a producer for the proper product-placement, Nick decides to bring his son along for the ride, to see "how daddy works" in hopes to bond with him.

Good satires are hard to come by, but Reitman's "Thank You For Smoking" is so wet with sarcasm and dripping with humour that it is impossible not to enjoy. It navigates the fast-paced industry, the art of talking and spoofs the anti-smoking camp with their chiché "cancer-sick boy in a wheelchair" front (as seen in the opening scene of the film), and it explores the moral flexibility of Americans, without preaching too much in doing so. Only once does it fall prey to predictable moral messages, as when Nick starts reevaluating his work and has moral qualms following his kidnapping by an anti-smoking group, only to swoop down into tongue-and-cheek mode again and return twice as biting – and twice as funny.

Although the film is evenly peppered with fun one-liners and perfect delivery from its cast, the best scene is when the M.O.D. squad are at their usual restaurant hang-out at the end of the day and brag to each other and argue over whose business kills the most people per year. Nick: "How many alcohol-related deaths per day? 100,000? That's what... 270 a day? Wow. 270 people, tragedy. Excuse me if I don't exactly see terrorists getting excited about kidnapping anyone from the alcohol-industry." Maria Bello who plays the detached, funny Moderate Spokeswoman for alcohol has great in-your-face aptitude and attitude, "That's stupid arguing." Aaron Eckhart is also hilarious throughout in a shady businessman way (I now have a major crush on him). Out of all the cast, only Nick's little kid Joe chokes on the well-written lines.

In fact, even the cinematography is well-crafted in the film... just the way a scene cuts to another deserves credit, opening with a rapid-fire ironic note. Speaking of which, "Thank You"'s opening montage of cigarette packages as credits is a stroke of genius on Reitman's part. So are the various casting choices – the amount of respected actors that have been crammed into supporting roles in impressive (Robert Duvall, Sam Elliot, William H. Macy) and give rise to an almost familiar and "feel-good" tone in the film.

That said, I wouldn't call this "laugh-out-loud worthy" exactly and I didn't care for the ending but it is clear that a lot of thought has been put into Thank You For Smoking – every line is a well-articulated kick up the arse to something and delivered by the bucket-load. A very enjoyable little satire.

8 out of 10
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Entertaining and Honest...
jak_wonder13 September 2005
Just saw this as it premiered in Toronto - awesome cast, very funny dialog, and more than skin deep. First time director does a nice job - and the opening credits are noteworthy. RECOMMENDED. Pokes fun at the smoking industry (and lobbyists), but at others as well, and its hard to disagree with the sharp satire. Rob Lowe's small role is priceless, the casting was perfect across the board. Nick Naylor's (Eckart) relationship with his son is center and keeps some genuine qualities through all the laughs. My friend and I both rated this near the top or at the top of the 7 films we saw in Toronto last weekend. Not sure what its distribution / release schedule is yet, as there was still some debate over who had actually purchased the rights to it. Eckart in person came across as very genuine and is also in another great upcoming movie - Neverwas.
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A Thinking Man's Comedy You Can Take Your Parents To
haley-jeffrey30 January 2006
This was the most enjoyable film we saw at Sundance. Smart and funny is not an easy pairing to find these days. Thank You For Smoking provides thought provoking content delivered through a network of great acting performances that make this film so thought provokingly hilarious.

This comedy, unlike many that grace the screen these days, is clean enough to take your parents to, and funny enough that you will forget you are at the movies with your mom. It was truly refreshing how no one in the film was filmed smoking a cigarette. Rob Lowe's character provides a wonderful satire of the corporate film world. I only hope that the intelligence level of this film does not keep it from gaining mainstream appeal.
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Very funny edu-tainment that doesn't take sides
besttom17 March 2006
I saw this movie at a screening in DC last night. It was great. Aaron Eckhart, the single leading man with the WORST haircut in Hollywood (full disclosure - I'm damn near bald) matches very well with the direction of Reitman. From the get-go, it's a fast-paced send-up of everyone and everything in the tobacco war. The entire cast does a good job (w/ the exception, maybe, of Katie Holmes). Rob Lowe is hysterical in his cameo, but I have to say Eckhart & his MOD squad buddies (Maria Bello & David Koechner) really light up the screen. Their scenes of discussing the dealing out of death through the industries they represent over drinks are a real strong point of the movie.

The fact that this movie doesn't take sides - and really, could be about any issue, because it's more about the MAN behind the spokesperson - but makes fun of all sides in the tobacco issue. The interaction b/w Nick Naylor (Eckhart) & the old Marlboro Man (Sam Elliot) is priceless, as is the back-and-forth between Naylor & Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy) towards the end of the film -it's basically good actors doing what they do well - and it's very funny.

The movie's also a little bit touchy-feely, focusing for a bit on the relationship b/w Naylor & his son, Joey (Cameron Bright) - the kid's good & some of the lines written for him are priceless.

There was one odd, stupid thing - and my wife agrees w/ me on this, so I'm not just being a guy; there are 2 'sex' scenes w/ Eckhart & Katie Holmes, but zero nudity. Nada. Not even partial. We see them having sex in multiple places & positions, but they're almost completely clothed. It just took away from the credibility is all I'm trying to point out here - as I said, my wife actually made the comment before I did.

Bottom line, it's a great movie - well worth the price of admission. It's funny, it's entertaining & it moves, what more could you ask for?
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Wonderfully witty, sharp, insightful independent comedy
davideo-22 April 2007
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is damn good at his job but that doesn't stop him being any less detested for it- he's a spokesperson for the tobacco companies, cleverly putting slants on 'proven' medical facts and observations. But he's facing a new opponent in the shape of Senator Finistirre (William H Macy) who's challenging him to come to a commitee and stand up against some new anti-smoking material he's discovered. He's also got to struggle to be a positive role model to his 12 year old son Joey (Cameron Bright) who he takes on a cross country trip to try and bond with. And, to top it all off, the tobacco giants are desperate to make smoking appear 'cool' in the movies again, a job they leave at the hands of Nick. But a double crossing reporter (Katie Holmes) and a group threatening to bump off Nick for the 'lives he's ruined', his own life is starting to look pretty bumpy on it's own.

Always leave it to the small independent films to produce the best comedies, because they generally do a much better job of it than big over-blown Hollywood productions. TYFS has received a large number of generally glowing reviews up to this point...and I'm glad to say this will be another one.

With a title and premise that was guaranteed to spark controversy (or maybe outrage would be a better word?) rather than go for shock value in any other way, this manages to be a consistently clever and sharp stab at the hypocrisy and over-reaction that can cloud those who make it their lives to poo poo tobacco and those who try and defend it, with one of the greatest cinematic characters in a while in Nick. He defends an industry I despise, so it's credit to the film that he struck a chord as such a savvy and charismatic guy who carries the film to the beat of his own tune. Great performances all round also do the film no end of favours, guided along by a screen play that dishes out witty and sparkling dialogue by the bucket-load, making the film a seemingly never-ending glee ride.

Thank you for Smoking, Please come Again. ****
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Coughing And Laughing In Another Planet
filmquestint13 April 2006
Ivan Reitman must be so proud. I'm not kidding, his son Jason has come out with a caustic original comedy all his own. I don't know what people outside Los Angeles may make of this. They may think is science fiction when, in fact, most people who have spent any time there knows that this is as normal as going to church in the Vatican. The scenes inside the CAA like agency are even underplayed if you believe that. Aaron Eckhart is as perfect as they come. The charming monster with human sides. William H Macy, Rob Lowe and the rest of the cast are great fun to watch. I'm rooting for this movie to make a zillion bucks. It'll be nice to have more good writing, good acting and good direction in March for a change.
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born for secret stardom
eli-kim4 March 2006
I hate to say it. but this movie is gonna fail in the box office. for the same reason no one showed up to its screening. but this will be one of the most entertaining cult movies ever. although it lacks the glam and actually will turn a lot of people away before they even get to the box office do to the subject matter, but they will all be missing out on a hilariously made movie. I don't think i've laughed this hard in a long long time. this movie isn't really intended to be anti-smoking propaganda, but there is some of it. Its more of a satire on the reality of people and how much we're willing to believe or willing to be dooped. I see it similar to liar liar not being about about the legal system but the moral and ethical decisions of people within society. overall I would have to saw this is a great great movie. Highly recommend it. And could not imagine this movie to turn out any better than it has already been with the perfect cast and great story line. I think the best way to encompass the movie is paraphrased in the movie's catchy advertising line the main character, Nick Naylor doesn't lie, he filters the truth.
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Very Good
missygoldstein27 March 2006
Very smart, funny and interesting movie. I seldom say that about any movie. The story of a lobbyist for the tobacco industry who's job is to put a spin on cigarettes, improve their image, make them cool again, and prevent one senator from getting legislature to mandate that cigarette companies place a large graphic skull and cross bones on each pack sold.

Nick Naylors character is brilliant. While he was "selling" the public on his ideas and views and convincing them, his own son, and everyone else that he is correct he actually sold me too with his good looks, charm, and logic.

Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer and anyone who attempts to sell or promote it won't garner any sympathy for lagging sales. That's where the spin doctor Nick comes in to teach everyone that smoking is cool.

Excellent movie.
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A witty satire that doesn't take sides on the smoking controversy.
MovieAddict201615 October 2006
A clever satire of the spin-world (thanks largely to its cast and a witty script by Jason Reitman), Thank You For Smoking comes on like Wag the Dog via The Insider – it's a painfully honest insight into the tobacco industry, led by the narration of Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), the Big Tobacco corporation's chief spokesman. His narcissistic self-infatuation ("Charles Manson kills people; I talk.") and sleazy tactics land him in trouble when he finds himself bribing a lung cancer victim in front of his pre-teen son, who is not yet old enough to smoke but is being influenced by his money-driven father.

Nick has a lot on his mind. He's got pressure from an anti-smoking Senator (played brilliantly by William H. Macy), his boss, his ex-wife, fanatical groups on homicidal missions, a double-crossing reporter (Katie Holmes) and a Hollywood producer (Rob Lowe) trying to cast the perfect Hollywood glamorization of smoking (Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones are offered as the leads).

The movie, directed by the son of Ivan Reitman (the "Ghosbusters" director/producer extraordinaire), balances absurdity with realism; moments of the film come across as poignant reflection while following scenes are completely the opposite. This balance is thrown off a bit sometimes – David Koechner's portrayal of an NRA lobbyist is great but feels out of place, as if it belongs in a comedy in the vein of "Anchorman." And ultimately this uneven mix of the deadly serious (literally) with off-the-wall gags does catch up with the film; it eventually falls back upon its very strong script, which supports it (a lesser film might be affected more drastically with a weaker screenplay), but some scenes probably should have been toned down a bit to comply with the subtler and more realistic scenes. For what it's worth, the wacky scenes are extremely hilarious, but they seem to contradict other portions of the material.

Jason is a better director than his father, though, and shows a lot of potential here: I'd say the direction is almost deserving of a more serious film. I'd love to see what he could do with a drama in the future.

The movie also boasts an excellent lead performance by Aaron Eckhart, who oozes with sleaze, greed, corruption and a hidden sense of morals. He knows what he is doing is wrong, but he's not a stereotypical Hollywood motion picture "good guy" – even the closing of the picture, without spoiling it, isn't the moralistic cop-out I had expected; the movie isn't a black-and-white painting of the smoking controversy; it doesn't take sides on either side of the debate.

This is really being marketed incorrectly as the next "40-Year-Old Virgin" right now, but the film – for the most part, anyway – really isn't as hilarious as it is thought-provoking and engaging. Apart from a few aforementioned moments of utter absurdity, the majority of the film's duration involves some pretty serious topics, and it handles them well. It's not a bust-your-gut-funny movie, and it's perhaps not as strong as some reviews would lead you to believe, but it's one of the better satires in recent memory and certainly one of the more effective since Wag the Dog.
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Funny movie: looks at ALL sides of the debate
ArizWldcat23 January 2006
I saw this at Sundance last night (actually it was a Salt Lake screening, and thus the filmmakers didn't bother to drive 30 miles to talk to us...not that I am bitter...) At first I was a bit worried that this was going to be the old hat anti smoking movie that makes all smokers victims of the eeeeevil tobacco companies, but then I saw that it was based on a Christopher Buckley novel and I relaxed a bit! This pokes fun at all sides of the issue, from the tobacco lobbyist's insistence that there has been "no conclusive proof" that tobacco is harmful, to the legislator's thinking that putting a warning label on cigarettes will actually make someone pick up a cigarette package, read the label, and decide not to if ANYONE with half a brain doesn't know that inhaling smoke into your lungs will harm you.

Aaron Eckhart did a fine job in his role, as did Sam Elliot, Rob Lowe, Katie Holmes...I could go on and on. It's fascinating to watch Eckhart's character spin and spin so that he brings people around to his way of thinking. He has to be representing one of the most hated industries in the United States, yet he is able to convince people as to the opposite! I highly recommend this film!
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Remember: cholesterol kills
petep2 April 2006
This was quite the clever satire. But it's not really about smoking. I was reminded of Cinderella Man (last year's best film). That one wasn't really a boxing movie: it was about a man realizing what was important in his life, and boxing was just a means to an end. Thank You for Smoking isn't trying to convince people to smoke, or, not to smoke. It's about choice. Well, that's what the characters are lobbying for, quite literally. Maybe since this is a dark comedy, it doesn't really have any moral high ground. But Aaron Eckhart, who plays the lead role of Tobacco industry spokesperson Nick Naylor, and is playing a character who himself smokes, doesn't actually light up a cigarette on camera.

Nick Naylor's job is spin, and he's damn good at it. As he tells his 12 year old son, who idolizes his father, you're never on the wrong side of an argument if you can support your facts, and most importantly, prove the other person wrong. And it's not that Naylor thinks cigarettes are the greatest invention ever: he does what he does for the challenge. His tasks in this film include getting cigarettes back into movies, preferably being used by Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones right after a zero-g sex scene, and to convince a congressional subcommittee to not include a new poison icon on all packs of cigarettes.

The movie is full of subplots and great supporting characters, but the movie doesn't seem weighed down by them. It still moves along rather briskly and clocks in at about 90 minutes. But at the same time it never loses its dual focus: that of Naylor's relationship with his son, where he's still trying to be a good role model despite how hated he is by others for what he does, and with the other focus just being the brilliance of Naylor's spin. Eckhart shines in this film. He never rambles. He always gets his two cents in, and more. He's clever throughout, and no matter what evil it is that he may be defending, you can't help but like and admire him.

And I must go over some of this supporting cast. Maria Bello and David Koechner join Naylor for lunch once a week, and as respective representatives for the alcohol, firearms, and tobacco industries, they refer to themselves as the Merchants of Death and have quite a lively meal/debate. William H. Macy is Senator Ortolan K. Finistirre, who loves his state of Vermont's cheese and is one of the most outspoken adversaries of Big Tobacco. I loved J.K. Simmons as BR, Naylor's boss. He just has such a loud mouth: I love hearing him swear and rant in movies. You also have Robert Duvall as The Captain: the guy BR has to run policy through and who is idolized by anyone working in Big Tobacco; Sam Elliott as a former Marlboro Man who is dead-set against not shutting up in anger until Naylor spins a few things; Katie Holmes as a reporter Naylor falls for; Rob Lowe as a movie producer who'll take funding from anyone and can spin as well as Naylor, and Dennis Miller as (thankfully) himself.

So then, I don't think this movie takes sides at all on tobacco. It's a movie for people actually capable of looking at an issue from both sides, and to find humor in it all. I guess that means it's not for Republicans. And even if you go into this movie thinking you won't be impressed, I think Naylor will work his magic and convince you otherwise.
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the best choice for a fine evening
mginger3 January 2007
I think that if you want to spend a good evening, this is the movie. The story is very good and the dialogs witty.

It is very sarcastic and even caustic but it will make you have a thought on what is the truth in our world. Everything here is discussed : how medias are manipulated, how big companies can decide what we see and what information we get.

All the actors are very good, especially Rob Lowe playing president of EGO (nice acronym, huh ?) who is only sleeping on Sundays.

If you are not convinced yet to go and rent this movie, I recommend that you take a look at the memorable quotes from the movie (available in the IMDb movie's file), you'll understand how funny and caustic it is.
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Independent but Hollywood.
the-color-grey9 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was expecting to laugh a whole bunch while watching this satirical comedy. Unfortunately this movie has fallen victim to the spoilers of trailers. There were about 2 good laughs that were new to me, but the other 7, I had already seen in those marvelous trailers. I would have probably enjoyed Thank You for Smoking a bit better if I had not seen the trailers. So the lesson is to avoid trailers. Trailers are spoilers.

The story was good, maybe because there haven't been any movies about a spokesperson for the tobacco industry. Still, you'll find some, possibly, Hollywood clichés, even if this is supposedly an independent film. I'd think the mainstream audience would enjoy this film, more so than Transamerica. Its style of jokes perhaps is the reason. For example, subtitles or symbols are introduced to add humor, which of course aren't seen by the characters. It doesn't make the movie any worse, but the type of humor is why I'd think casual film goers would enjoy this movie, and the satire is in some ways similar to what is on TV now a days.

Sure it had some good jokes and was an interesting story, but as the film ended it just didn't fit together. Don't want to spoil it but there were some mix messages of what the movie was really about? Thank You for Smoking was a nice film, which seemed to have a unique story, but had some Hollywood influence.

Spoilers Why didn't I like the ending?

The movie was a satire on the people in charge of the tobacco industry. However it did show the good in the people, at least the lobbyist, Nick Naylor. The message was delivered that people had to do their jobs to get by in life, to have money to support it. Another was to decide for yourself and not let a higher power tell you what to believe. Yet in the end the tobacco industry lost and Nick decided not rejoin the industry. Tobacco was seen as the enemy once again. Nick should have rejoined and the industry should have continued. It's contradictory of what the start of he film was. The movie basically told the audience tobacco was bad directly, not through satire. It seemed as if a Hollywood producer got hold of the script and changed it to be morally correct. It just didn't fit. Unless the ending was a satire on how Hollywood movies end; good guys win. I doubt it. Well, it was based on a book, I don't know how it ended but either way I didn't like the ending of the film.
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Paying the Mortgage
jon.h.ochiai28 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In the opening scene of "Thank You for Smoking", Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) Tobacco Lobbyist is a guest on the Joan Lunden Talk Show with a young boy Robin, who is a dying of lung cancer. Nick somewhat sympathetic, makes his argument that it is in his best interest to keep people like Robin alive so they can continue to smoke cigarettes. Nick proclaims that the Tobacco Industry will spend $50 million on campaign to educate kids against smoking. Nick wins over the entire studio audience for his humanitarian stance. A young woman sitting by also watching the movie, voices that "I am very annoyed." She might have been clued in by the movie audience laughter that satire lives and thrives in Jason Reitman's "Thank You for Smoking". Reitman's screenplay based on the book by Christopher Buckley (son of William Buckley), "Thank You for Smoking" is painfully hilarious and a clever dark comedy focused on the multi-billion dollar Tobacco Industry. Writer and Director Rietman has a similar conceit as his main character Nick Naylor as he tells his story in the context of freedom and the consequence of choice—however skewed the context. Aaron Eckhart is amazing as Nick, Time Magazine's "Sultan of Spin". As Nick describes himself, "Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk." His Nick Naylor is the Vice-President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, or in English he is a Tobacco Lobbyist. He is a master at what he does. Nick is also the political target of Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), who wants to stamp all cigarettes with a "poison" label.

Every week Nick has dinner with the MOD squad—that would be the "Merchants of Death." Polly Bailey (smart and sexy Mario Bello) is with the Alcohol Lobby. Bobby Jay Bliss (classic good old boy David Koechner) is with the Firearms Lobby. Big dog Nick reminds Polly that she is only responsible for two deaths per day, only. It turns out that Nick is scheduled for an interview with reporter Heather Holloway (hot and lethal Katie Holmes) who according to Bobby Jay has "spectacular t—s". Of course Nick is never over his head. At the same time Nick's boss BR (absolutely funny JK Simmons) arranges meeting with entertainment agency EGO's CEO Jeff Megall (played by Rob Lowe at his comic straight man best) in Los Angeles. Nick is after getting smoking back in the movies— re-establishing it as sexy and cool. Nick makes a case to his ex-wife Jill (Kim Dickens) that this would be an opportunity for him to spend quality time with their son Joey (kind of eerily played by Cameron Bright). He fails; however Joey presents a winning argument that gains him a trip to Los Angeles with his Dad.

In a signature scene reporter Heather (Holmes) asks Nick (Eckhart), "Why do you do what you do?" Unflinching Nick says, "Population control." Then he cops to "Everyone's got to pay the mortgage…" This is funny and dead on. Director Rietman maintains this absurdest ecology—there is no envelop for his material and at the same time he generates genuine sympathy for his characters. And in the business world it is all about the bottom line. In another classic scene Nick delivers a brief case with $25 million to the lung cancer stricken Marlborough Man (a great Sam Elliot)—who can either keep the money for his family; thus shutting his mouth to the media or give it all away to charity. The offer is non-negotiable. Everyone has to pay their mortgage. Walking on the Santa Monica Pier with his son Joey, Nick advises on the virtues of being morally "flexible". The writing in "Thank You for Smoking" is so smart and drop dead funny—so to speak.

The performances are equally stunning, starting with Aaron Eckhart as Nick. Eckhart is a great looking leading man who is edgy and has impeccable comedic timing. He plays Nick with the innate charm that tempers his arrogance and aloofness. His Nick is doing his best to spin the tobacco industry's aftermath, and still raise his son to make up his own mind as he grows up. Not easy—even without the cigarettes issue. Cameron Bright is smart and strangely endearing as Joey, who really has the choice of despising or admiring his father. Robert Duvall is at his caricature best as the Captain of the Tobacco Industry. Rob Lowe is another standout as the totally affected EGO head Jeff Megall. There is comic genius when the kimono attired Jeff calls Nick saying that "It's 4 am in Japan. I'm calling from the future." Director Rietman goes where few dare, and makes us laugh at our darker nature. He also tells a story of the responsibilities of freedom and choice, and the consequences all with a sense of humor. See "Thank You for Smoking"—it is one of the year's best.
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'Argument Or Negotiation?'
Chrysanthepop11 June 2008
Jason Reitman's 'Thank You For Smoking' is a remarkable satire about successful 'B***S***ting'. Oh the things one can get away with, the things one can turn around and twist just through words, charisma and a smile. All the characters are/were hypocrites. Even in the relationship between Nick and his son, we see how his own traits brush off on his son. Not only that, he teaches his own son how to get away with things just by using words. Reitman's execution and screenplay are very intriguing. He uses clever humour and the lines spoken by the actors are absurdly amazing and hilarious. The multiple meanings of the lines particularly stand-out. Also, Reitman's intentions in making this successful satire seem very genuine as the film is not pretentious nor condescending (as is the case with many of the so-called recent satires). There's a stellar cast of which all the actors (except Katie Holmes) naturally fit their parts. Aaron Eckhart carries the film. It's difficult to describe his performance in words as the actor seems to pulls it off with ease. Nick Naylor was meant for him. Acclaimed actors like William Huffman Macy, Maria Bello, Rob Lowe and Robert Duvall all do nothing short of excellence in their acting. Even Adam Brody provokes laughter. Katie Holmes is the weakest link but this can be easily overlooked as she's not there for long and the other actors compensate enough. The cinematography and background score are very effective and the visuals are impressive. The sepia tone and brightness gives the feeling of a classic movie where things are positively exaggerated. While some people find the film offensive because they think it promotes smoking but 'Thank You For Smoking' is not really about smoking. It's pretty much about politics. Political Incorrectness. I'll be watching this movie again because it deserves so.
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Finally, Something Original
acs_joel14 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
At long, long last, a movie for which I can write a positive commentary. And to think I wouldn't have even gone out of my way to see this film, had it not been for the good luck of winning tickets on the radio.

Nick Naylor's omnipresent smirk is symbolic of this film's wry wit. Now, its not the vile, "George W. Bush smirk". Its a "kid playing a joke smirk".

The writing is clever and human. Except for an absurd kidnapping, the story is very human, as well are the characters. The acting is superb.

I found myself laughing out loud. The theater erupted in applause at the conclusion. The American film-going public needs more films like Thank You for Smoking. We need fewer remakes of old classics. We need fewer copfilms, chases, special effects, heists and super heroes and more good writing and original ideas.

My hat is off to Jason Reitmann.
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Exceptional Anti-Hero Preaches
billion_mucks29 January 2008
How does it feel to be hated by everyone? Nick Naylor is the spokesman of a cigar industry decided to "clean" the image of smoking. His character is poetic, from where he gets the nerve to go on with his job, to his utter manipulative skills and brave charisma. His character transforms those around him with major intelligence.

Reitman's job is to execute perfectly the characters into their intentions but not with their way of executing them. That's saying that he does the obvious job to show the morally correct into "stupid" and the manipulative, soul-less pig into a "hero". Etcharkt throws an unseen sparkle, and the script is in charge of putting America into the focus, bringing the movie a smart edge. Nick Naylor's relationship with his son is deep and smart, emotional and vivid.

But as Naylor says "think for yourself, don't be guided" don't let the movie convert you into a smoker or brilliant lobbyist. Think for yourself, and Thank you for Reading.
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I cannot praise this film enough.
brlancer29 October 2006
This is one of the best films I've seen come out of the last twenty years of Hollywood schlock.

It's a testament to the quality of the script that so many brilliant actors attached themselves to a film that cost $7.5 million to make (chump change in modern productions). Aaron Eckhart owns this movie--he is the life and soul of Nick Naylor and brings every character around him into the world. Talents such as Rob Lowe and Sam Eliot hold pivotal roles but little screen time, in the true sense of what a supporting actor is supposed to be.

Nick Naylor should be despised for his defense of an industry which deliberately addicts children and lies to the populace. But you won't. You'll love him for his honesty and intellect and the conviction that everyone deserves a defense, even tobacco companies. This is a movie which will make you think and should be discussed with other passionate, intelligent people.

9 out of 10: Proof that comedies can go toe to toe with overwrought dramatic headliners and win.
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What an amazingly smart film!
nforzy-117 June 2006
Having just seen this movie and slept on it too, I have to admit it is one of the smartest celluloid storytelling that I have seen in a long time.

It balances sarcastic humour with subtle social commentary, rapid-fire wit with narrative subtlety and most of all, is remains surprisingly neutral about the smoking issue (notice how there isn't a single person seen smoking on screen during the entire movie?).

And to top it all off, it's his first feature film!! Come to think of it, now I really hate Jason Reitman.

Go see this film, laugh your abdomen out, then see it again with a friend, repeat and rinse with absolute disregard for political correctness!
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A film so hot, it's smoking!
inkblot1129 April 2006
Nick (Aaron Eckhart) is an attractive, scumbag lobbyist for a pro-tobacco institute. This makes it difficult to raise his young son without damaging the youngster's ability to determine what is right or wrong. There are also problems with his ex-wife, soothing but shamefaced dinners with two fellow lobbyists, and an affair with an attractive reporter (Katie Holmes) on this season's agenda. Will Nick be a hero to anyone? And is his charmed but flawed existence about to take a wrong turn? What a year for lobbyists, indeed. We have Jack Abramoff and, now, Nick Naylor. The very attractive Eckhart is superb as the man whose love for debate supersedes his ethics. Surrounding him are wonderful supporting actors, including Holmes, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello, Sam Elliot, and the talented youngster, Cameron Bright. Let's all bow to concept and top-notch script, however. The movie's storyline is the reason this film is important and laudable. Do you want to see a movie which will result in a first class conversation and coffee opportunity? See this one, absolutely.
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"Thank You for Smoking". It looks good like a movie should.
dhaufrect25 April 2006
Jason Reitman has written and directed a fantastically funny film. It portrays a tobacco lobbyist, Nick Naylor, who will bend over backwards to make a buck. The part of Naylor is done exquisitely by Aaron Eckhart. His associates in crime do likewise for the alcohol and firearms industries. One of the high points of the film is the actor, Sam Elliott, portraying the Marlboro Man, Lorne Lutch, who is dying of lung cancer. He masterfully looks and sounds like the image of this former character of billboards and TV. Rob Lowe plays Jeff Megall, a Hollywood mogul, who is convinced that the plan to add cigarettes to current films will enhance his wallet as well. One expects to see a documentary on the tobacco industry, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a delightful comedy that deserves a great success. It should be on ones list of current films to see.
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The Right Smoked Out
Philby-33 September 2006
Lawyers are often asked how they can act for clients who are clearly bad people who ought to be in jail. Once the arguments like "everyone is entitled to a fair trial" and "everyone is presumed innocent" are swept aside, it usually gets down to "well, I've got a mortgage to pay." So it is for lobbyists for unpopular industries. There is no legal industry more unpopular than Big Tobacco and in this film Aaron Eckhart plays with great relish, Nick Naylor, a superb operator with absolutely no shame who prosecutes Big Tobacco's cause at venues ranging from grade school classes to congressional committees.

First –time director Reitman derived his screenplay from Christopher Buckley's 1994 book, and in the book there is a deeper motivation than the "must pay the mortgage" defence. Chris Buckley happens to be the son of the wealthy right-wing columnist and political gadfly William F Buckley and Chris shares his father's politics to some degree. If you are against the state telling people what to do (ie, not smoke) it is logical to support the tobacco companies, who, after all are only providing a substance people are free not to use. The problem with this libertarian position is of course externalities – others are affected by the smoker's actions through passive smoking and the state will still have to foot the bill for the smoker's medical treatment. So unless our smoker is going to smoke only with other smokers (or alone) and is prepared to pay for their medical treatment, the state has an interest.

This issue is only lightly alluded to in what is a very clever, witty, snappily directed and rather superficial satire on lobbyists for pariah industries. The film does come close to being serious when Nick takes his perceptive 12 year old son Joey (wonderfully played by Cameron Bright) to various work engagements. How can a lobbyist for big tobacco justify what he does to his son? He does it, but I won't spoil your enjoyment of the movie by telling you how.

The satire here is not subtle, and some of the performances border on caricature. William H Macy, however, as the anti-tobacco Senator for Vermont (home to cheese-created cholesterol), manages to avoid farce and produce a believable character.

Christopher Buckley was reportedly pleased with this film though I think his message was obscured somewhat by the pyrotechnics of Aaron Eckhart's performance. Perhaps those champions of individual freedom are actually sociopaths, using liberty as an excuse for doing bad. I don't like being told what to do, or telling other people what to do, but sometimes there is no other choice.
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For the Mortgage
claudio_carvalho6 October 2007
The chief spokesperson and lobbyist Nick Taylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the Vice-President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. He is talented in speaking and spins argument to defend the cigarette industry in the most difficult situations. His best friends are Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) that works in the Moderation Council in alcohol business, and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner) of the gun business own advisory group SAFETY. They frequently meet each other in a bar and they self-entitle the Mod Squad a.k.a. Merchants of Death, disputing which industry has killed more people. Nick's greatest enemy is Vermont's Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), who defends in the Senate the use a skull and crossed bones in the cigarette packs. Nick's son Joey Naylor (Cameron Bright) lives with his mother, and has the chance to know his father in a business trip. When the ambitious reporter Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes) 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.

"Thank you for Smoking" is a great politically incorrect movie, that satirizes the phobia against smokers and cigarette industry. Aaron Eckhart is simply awesome in the role of a man that has argument and is good in talking. The witty screenplay is original, using cynical lines and amoral characters. I quited smoking almost twenty-five years ago, and I do not like smokers and cigarettes, but Nick Taylor is amazing spinning the truth to defend the cigarette industry to pay his mortgage. Like said in "An Inconvenient Truth": "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it". My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Obrigado Por Fumar" ("Thank you for Smoking")
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