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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Thank You For Smoking

MOVIE REVIEWS

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING  (2006)

Starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, David Koechner, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Kim Dickens, Rob Lowe, J.K. Simmons, Todd Louiso, Adam Brody and Joan Lunden.

Screenplay by Jason Reitman.

Directed by Jason Reitman.

Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.  92 minutes.  Rated R.

Thank You For Smoking

Pitch black comedy is tricky to pull off.  If you go too far, you can be seen as being cruel and heartless.  Not far enough and you are pulling your punches.

Well, one thing is for sure.  Thank You For Smoking pulls no punches.

Instead, it is a surprisingly funny look at the heart -- or lack of heart -- of darkness.  It all rises or falls on the strength of its central figure.  In Aaron Eckhart, the movie has found the perfect front man -- the poster child for handsome, slick amorality. 

Not that it is a surprise that he can pull it off.  Eckhart has almost made a specialty of playing the glitzy moral bankruptcy behind an all-American face and a burly chin ever since his breakout role in Neil Labute's In the Company of Men.  

Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a man who happily acknowledges that his job puts him at a lower public opinion level than child molesters.  Nick works as a lobbyist who speaks up for the big tobacco companies.  He glibly admits that he is despised for his job as a mouthpiece for a company that kills over a thousand people a day.  He takes pride in spinning evilness.

In the world of Thank You For Smoking, though, everyone is as gleefully unethical, including the other lobbyists (Maria Bello and David Koechner), the execs (Robert Duvall and J.K. Simmons), the politicians (William H. Macy and Todd Louiso), the media (Katie Holmes), even the victims (Sam Elliott).

Thank You For Smoking is based on Christopher (son of William F.) Buckley's incendiary book of the same title.  It is by far the biggest directing project in the career of Jason Reitman (son of Ghostbusters and Stripes director Ivan Reitman) and it shows the old man's comic touch.  If the movie ends up softballing it a little more than the book did, it still makes its share of pointed shots and accusations.  (3/06)

Dave Strohler

Copyright 2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 8, 2006.

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Copyright 2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 8, 2006.

 

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