Media manipulation, freedom of expression, political correctness, obsession with Hollywood images and celebrities, hypocritical morality, which are important in a dominant corporate culture is aimed, for the entertaining social satire, "Thank You For Smoking." It is unintimidated in exposing the hypocrisy of Big Tobacco's efforts to solve its major industry dilemma - its product kills its customers.
Based on a 1994 novel by Christopher Buckley, the movie is about the cunning world of lobbyists, who represents the tobacco industry. 'Thank You For Smoking' makes no apologies and takes no prisoners; this is a film, after all, in which the hero is the chief lobbyist for Big Tobacco. The movie, though a bit shallow, might appeal to all sides of the political spectrum.
PlotNick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the chief lobbyist for Big Tobacco. As he explains to his son, Joey (Cameron Bright), Nick's job demands a certain moral flexibility. He keeps his mouth shut about lung cancer, bullies school children into ignoring health advice. At weekly lunch gatherings, he relaxes with his buddies (Mario Bello and David Koechner), who are the spokespeople for the alcohol and firearm industries, the so-called MOD squad (the letters stand for "Merchants of Death"). Nick's boss (Robert Duvall) sends him to Hollywood to pull of a deal.
Thorough this journey, the divorced Nick tries to reconnect with his son, teaching him what Dad does for a living and how he can develop those persuasive skills himself. Opposing Nick Naylor and his campaign to convince people to stop demonizing cigarettes is Senator Finistirre (William H. Macy), a politician, who is trying to push a bill that would label all cigarette boxes with a skull-and-crossbones symbol.
AnalysisAaron Eckhart is perfect as Nick, a astute charmer who's both amoral and immoral, and never hesitates to flash a smug smile. His role here is so sly and hilarious that it is impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part. Aaron keeps his character likable even in his cynicism, and the interludes in which Nick dines with his friends in the alcohol and firearms industries as they compare morbid statistics and take pride in who is more loathed are very funny. The veteran actors J.K. Simmons and Robert Duvall as Nick's bosses are excellent in their roles, especially Duvall in one beautifully acted scene in the backseat of a limo.The weakest link and performance goes to Katie Holmes, who seems miscast as a ruthless reporter.
Written and directed by Jason Reitman (his first feature-film), the movie's scathing sarcasm and fast-paced dialogues are so clever. He is able to hold our ethical misgivings. The first half of the film is bright, funny, and sharp, but the story has problems maintaining its satirical bite, cynical tone, and cool attitude throughout the duration.
By crunching virtually everyone, right and left, Retiman's characters ultimately represent the same thing: a desire to manipulate the public.Even though "Thank You For Smoking" travels in a pretty familiar territory, the clear-eyed dissection of the public relations of a dirty business is pretty much peerless. At the end, Reitman correctly points out that, smoking is a choice, one that should be made after weighing all the information pro and con. It conveys parents to feed their children with contrary information and, most importantly, eventually step back and allow their children to make the decision for themselves.
Watch "Thank You For Smoking" for its laudably amoral and excellent caustic comedy.
Thank You For Smoking - IMDb