Friday, December 22, 2006

Movie Review -- Thank You For Smoking

Thank You For Smoking is a hilarious satire that centers around the tobacco industry in this country. Nick Naylor (played by Golden Globe nominee Aaron Eckhart) is a tobacco lobbyist who is one of the most loathed men in America. He holds the seemingly-impossible position of getting new smokers in a world that is tobacco (and tobacco lobbyist) intolerant. But Naylor revels in his position, and his latest job seems to be getting his son to realize why what he does is so important.

This is a tough story to pull off. But it works by making all sides both likeable (and understandable) and loathesome. The movie doesn't take sides (though I will point out that not one cigarette was smoked during the film). Even the anti-tobacco parties -- headed by the always delightful William H. Macy as a Vermont Senator -- come across as full of lies and deception. It isn't a film that is anti- or pro-tobacco as much as it is a film that raises issues about freedom, choice, and personal responsibility; the subject of smoking isn't as important as the larger issues surrounding the debate. Through wit and politically-incorrect dialogue, we realize how all sides manipulate language and images to "sell" their message; we realize how the public is duped by these messages rather than being encouraged to make their own informed decisions. Naylor, as he attempts to raise his son to be a free-thinker, calls to question the self-righteousness that often surrounds politically-correct rhetoric, and his sometimes-surprising logic makes his arguments more powerful. His meetings with the M.O.D. Squad (that would be "Merchants of Death" -- representatives from the tobacco, alcohol, and firearms industries) are hilarious, and throughout the movie I found myself literally laughing out loud (and it take a lot to make me do so).

The cast all-around works (though I'm on the fence about Katie "a.k.a.: Kate Cruise" Holmes as a seductive reporter) but Aaron Eckhart definitely carries the film from start to finish. Doubtful that he'll win an Oscar (or even get a nomination for this; the meaning will sail over too many people's heads!) but it's a great performance nonetheless.

Four stars! An excellent holiday rental!


Blogger Parisjasmal said...

Hi Tessa- I need to get in touch with you...but alas I do not have your e-mail. Can you please e-mail me on Monkeyposh (just click view profile) so I can write you back?

Sorry to do this here. Hope the Holidyas are treating you well!

3:29 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

No problem. Done!

3:45 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

I really want to see Thank You For Smoking, it looks really funny.
good post!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Dinah said...

This was such a great movie! Mrs. Cruise was in it also and she was not too shabby.

1:15 PM  
Blogger chippamunkey said...

I saw this in the theatres last year. I hadn't heard of it before, but just sorta picked it out of a hat and went and saw it. IT WAS HILLARIOUS! I totally loved this movie!!!

nice review here. Maybe I will rent it and watch it again!

6:26 AM  
Blogger Rogers Place said...

Nice pages here. Great information. Will visit again and recommend.

4:50 PM  
Blogger AKA said...

I hadn't seen the trailer or even heard of this movie when I picked it up but decided to watch it because of Aaron Eckhart. I really loved the way the pulled the story together, especially the end. I'm not a big "Kate Cruise" fan (not even pre-Cruise Kate) but I did like her in this. Great blog!

11:18 PM  

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