Thank You for Smoking (USA; 92 min.)


directed by: Jason Reitman
starring: Aaron Eckhart; William H. Macy; Robert Duvall
Thank You for Smoking
 
Chris says: "This satire about a slick lobbyist for the tobacco industry (perfectly embodied by Aaron Eckhart) isn't nearly as subversive or edgy as it thinks it is. Actually, it plays like a less eccentric, dumbed-down version of I HEART HUCKABEE'S with a far more blatant sentimental center. Fortunately, it's frequently hilarious, hitting (most of) the right targets gleefully. The ensemble cast is also pretty solid, especially Maria Bello and David Koechner as fellow lobbyists for the liquor and firearms industries respectively, and William H. Macy (effortlessly in control as an actor even as his character flails about) as a socks-and-sandals wearing Vermont senator. This is enjoyable fluff that works better when it's being silly and clever, and less so as it aims for something more socially provocative. 3.5 cats"
 
Michael says: "I was surprisingly disappointed in this bland satire about the publicity mouthpiece for big tobacco. Adapted from a novel by Christopher Buckley, starring Aaron Eckhart in a much-lauded performance, and doing surprisingly well at the box office, I was rather surprised by the ineffectiveness of the satire. As we left the film, Beth Caldwell noted that the film was “too Hollywood” and that’s why she didn’t like it. I agreed about not really liking it, but said that I didn’t find it too Hollywood. Then, upon further discussion, I changed my mind. I think this film was made to appeal to as many people as possible, and therefore, to avoid offending anyone, bled all of the wit and satire right out of it.

"Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a man who is good at convincing people things. We first see him on a talk show with a teenaged boy who is suffering from cancer which the other experts on the show attribute to smoking. While all expect Naylor to be demonized for his position defending big tobacco, he turns the tables and becomes the shows big hero. As his star keeps rising, he finds himself preparing to go up against Vermont senator Ortolan K. Finistirre (William H. Macy) at a Senate hearing about putting the skull and crossbones symbol on cigarette packages. His is about to ink a deal with a big Hollywood studio (represented by Rob Lowe in a fun performance), he’s becoming a hero in the eyes of his son who lives mainly with his mom, and he’s just scored in the bedroom with a young, perky reporter(Katie Holmes) who is writing a piece on him. Of course, then things start to take a turn and one by one he begins to lose all the karma he had built up.

"I’m not sure what could have been done to improve THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. The acting was fine; Eckhart shines in his leading role, but I think the satire needed to be broader… more absurd. Some of my favorite satires, HEATHERS, the films of Christopher Guest; they all go to extremes. Jason Reitman’s film tries to play it too safe… too likable. And ultimately this likeability undercuts the effectiveness of the satire and leaves an inoffensive but fairly boring film. 2 ½ cats"