Nick Naylor (Aaraon Eckhart) can disarm any argument, twist any truth and sidestep any allegation. In fact, on Career Day at his son's elementary school, this Big Tobacco lobbyist is on top of his game. When a young girl says, "My mom says smoking kills," Nick begins spinning. After asking the girl if her mom is a doctor or scientific researcher, he announces to the class that clearly this mom is not a creditable source. Instead, Nick—to the chagrin of the grandmotherly teacher—encourages the kids to think for themselves about smoking.
An adaptation of Christopher Buckley's 1994 novel and a darling of the Sundance Film Festival, Thank You for Smoking is a slick, funny and intelligent satire with a break-through performance by Eckhart. First-time director Jason Reitman (son of Ivan) adopts a fresh satirical approach marked by self-referential filmmaking and irreverent touches reminiscent of Fight Club and Arrested Development. Scenes pause as diagrams and subtitles punch home the joke. Snarky narration by Naylor adds character and spark. Clever dialogue and wry observations hit their mark—skewering a culture in which everyone is selling something. Unfortunately, as the film continues, its somewhat bland and often ridiculous plot takes over—forcing the fresh touches to the background and nearly blunting the satirical points.
The film revolves around Nick's work as the spin doctor for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, an institution created by the major cigarette companies to deflect health concerns of their product. With teen smoking on the decline, the original Marlboro Man (Sam Elliott) dying of cancer, and a liberal senator (William H. Macy) campaigning to slap skull-and-crossbones stickers on cigarette ...1
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Thank You for Smoking
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