Thank You for Smoking (2006)
Review Date: January 10, 2007
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Jason Reitman
Producers: David Sacks
Aaron Eckhart as Nick
Maria Bello as Polly
William H. Macy as Senator Finistirre
A top cigarette tobacco lobbyist living in Washington is riled up by his superiors and asked to improve the decreasing popularity of smoking in America. The man takes his mouth on tour through Hollywood, meets with the Marlboro Man, speaks to reporters and goes head-to-head versus a congressman who believes that all cigarette packs should sport “poison” labels on them. Along the way, he brings his own son and attempts to teach him the ways of a lobbyist, but even more importantly, the ways of a human being living in the Unites States of America. A top-notch satire ensues.
I love this kind of movie! It’s a breeze to watch, it’s packed with all kinds of cool cinematic goodies including classic lines of dialogue, memorable scenes and fun directing, it features a ton of engaging actors playing entertaining characters, it’s talking about something that isn’t commonplace in movies nowadays, and who would have guessed it…it’s also teaching you stuff along the way. Honestly folks, for the first half hour of this movie, it almost felt like I was watching a Michael Moore documentary, only this film is obviously not fact-based, but satirical (some would argue that the same can be said about Moore’s flicks) and once you’re hooked, it keeps you on that hook and keeps adding more cool scenes (Eckhart’s speech to the young kids in school is priceless), more fun characters and – God knows how they were able to pull this off – a friggin’ heart to boot! That’s right, to go along with LITTLE CHILDREN’s ability to make a friggin’ pedophile somewhat sympathetic, writer/director Jason Reitman is somehow able to make the lead character in this film – the man hired to convince everyone that smoking cigarettes is “all good” -- sympathetic, likeable and goddamn charming! I’m totally anti-smoking and anti-tobacco myself, but if Aaron Eckhart’s character cornered me in a room at some convention center and spun his fabulous words over my meatball, who knows what the hell I would do for the guy. That’s right, maybe even gay stuff! He’s that good!!
Seriously though, major props to Eckhart for playing his part so delectably, riding that fine line between silliness and schmaltz, and all of the other players, for leaving impressionable marks on the film including the very hot-looking Maria Bello, the always-hilarious David Koechner (give this man his own movie already!), Katie Holmes (literally fucking her way through the picture), William H. Macy and J.K. Simmons doing what they do best and a host of other names like Duvall, Elliot and yeah…even Rob Lowe comes through in a small, but fun, part (“When do you sleep?” “Sunday.”) In fact, all of the Hollywood-related stuff in this film was doubly hilarious (“Can Brad Pitt blow smoke rings?”) The film also moves at a clip, obviously shines a bright light on our terribly PC environment, the hypocrisy still alive and kickin’ in the government and the true meaning of personal freedom and choice in the United States (everybody deserves a right to be heard, drink/eat what they want, etc…). The film barely clocks in at 90 minutes, but it’s loaded with classic scenarios, fun lines, a peppy pace, memorable characters and yes, even twists, turns and it’s worth repeating: a friggin’ heart!! I’m definitely adding this flick to my DVD collection asap and urge anyone sick and bloated with the crap coming out of Hollywood these days to pick this movie up and have a blast watching a superior cinematic experience.
And kudos to director Ivan Reitman for producing his son Jason, and his son Jason, for directing this very cool movie. And I don’t even smoke!! PS: I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think that during the entire duration of this film, not a single character is shown smoking. Hmmmm…
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian