Thank You For Smoking [DVD] 
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Satire based on the big tobacco industry and their constant struggle to remain in business despite the overwhelming evidence that they are killing people. A lobbyist and promo man for the big tobacco business (Aaron Eckhart) tries to promote smoking in any way imaginable - from product placement to sitting in on chat shows giving anti-spin to promote the dreaded coffin nails. His heightened public profile draws the attention of a reporter (Katie Holmes) and, when his life is threatened and his son starts asking more informed questions about what his dad does, he's forced to reconsider his moral stance.
As one of the funniest films released in 2006, Thank You for Smoking works precisely because it shouldnt. Its protagonist is Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), a smooth-talking spokesman for the American tobacco industry, and therefore one of the 21st Centurys most demonised men. From his gelled hair to his perfect teeth, hes all slick and smarmy charm, though crucially, its his self-awareness that keeps him from degenerating into a completely amoral character. Naylor genuinely loves his teenaged son, Joey (Cameron Bright), and hes determined to be a good role model. However, thats not such an easy feat when the press and a US Senator are baying for your blood, and your own best friends are the self-styled M.O.D. (Merchants of Death) Squad (one is a gun lobbyist, the other does the same for alcohol).
Thank You for Smoking is a satire, but director / screenwriter Jason Reitman is clever enough to play it straight. And the supporting cast are, as a whole, superb, from William H Macys liberal, headline-grabbing Senator to Katie Holmess two-faced journalist. But its Eckharts performance as the charismatic Nick Naylor that is so convincing. By the end of the film, he manages to build sympathy not just for himself, but for the American tobacco industry--and thats no mean feat for Hollywood, particularly as non-smoking laws mean that, throughout the entirety of Thank You for Smoking, nobody is seen smoking a cigarette. --Ted Kord
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His two friends who also are lobbyists for the alcohol and firearms industries and call themselves the MOD squad MOD standing for Merchants Of Death (the argument in the bar about whose product kills the most is one of the highlights of the movie by the way).
Anyhoo the cast is uniformely excellent,Eckhart,Katie Holmes Bob Duvall and the ever watchable J.K Simmons along with William H Macy as a senator who wants to put skull and crossbones poison labels on cigarette packets and whose come uppance again is fantastic .
Watch this movie if you like smart intelligent well made movies which make you think.
The film is essentially about how if someone doctors the truths, or more pertinently lies so well that he/she begins to believe the lies, that they convince other people that their version of the truth is the truth even though it's fundamentally a lie and maybe that the other guy is not only wrong but is the one telling the lies even though he/she is probably telling the truth. It's called spin doctoring and the fact that the source novel was written just before the coming to power of the Labour Government, spin doctors so fiendish they make Shane Warne look like Ashley Giles, is so prescient it's downright spooky. The film of course is set amongst the tobacco lobbyists of America and is brought forward to the present day but otherwise director Jason Reitman has pretty much left the source novel unaltered.
Set in Washington the movie sees Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor( Aaron Eckhart) who is the spokesman for the grandly titled "Academy of Tobacco Studies "and whose job it is to counter all the health organisations , particaully "The American Lung Association " with counters-studies, double speak and gross perversions of the truth so people keep buying the cancer sticks.
Nick is very good at this and has no compunction about the fact that he targets teenagers as customers because "Get em young and you got em for life". However his life gets more complicated when he starts dating a newspaper reporter Heather Holloway ( Katie Holmes) who is working on a story about him which complicates thing with his 12 years old son (Cameron Bright) Then Senator Ortolan Finistirre ( William H Macy) introduces a bill that would mean every pack of cigarettes would contain a warning label of a skull and crossbones and the word "Poison" in large black letters while Nick is trying to obtain some product placement in a new movie with an unhinged producer ( Rob Lowe).
Full of great lines and a redemptive story arc that is actually believable the films greatest triumph is in the casting which is flawless for virtually every role. Anyone who has seen Aaron Eckhart in the film "The Company Of Men" will know he can play charming duplicitous charismatic schemers superbly and he is perfect as the quick firing Nick. Even the normally bland Katie Holmes is fine. Add to that Macy as the fussy senator and memorable cameos from Robert Duvall as a tobacco company patriarch , David Koechner as a deranged speaker for the forearms lobby, Sam Elliot who has one memorable scene as a former Marlboro man dying of cancer and the gorgeous Maria Bello as a lobbyist for the alcohol companies. Best of all is J.K. Simmons( Who played JJ Jameson , Peter Parkers boss in "Spiderman") who is again voluble and brilliant as Nicks boss barking out lines "We don't sell Tic Tacs , we sell cigarettes, they cool, addictive and available. The job is almost done for you".
Cigarettes, cool, addictive and available ...hhmm, a bit like this excellent darkly entertaining film then.
A clever film about the tobacco industry, and made me wonder, as a non-smoker, whether I'm missing out on something!
I will definitely be buying this film as it certainly deserves repeat veiwings, if only to catch the bits I missed while I was laughing!
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