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A good adaptation of the book. Funny take on lobbying that is likely closer to the truth than to fiction.
Great movie, really enjoying Reitman's work.
Thought provoking, witty and entertaining.
Libertarianism has its merits, but this movie doesn't help prove them. If anything, I think it actually discredits libertarian arguments. It's so one-dimensional.
Firstly, it plays as though Nick, our protagonist by default, is the smart one, a quick thinker and talker, who makes fools out of do-gooder senators and morally uptight citizens who are anti-tobacco. But the only way it pulls off this allusion is by making all the other people slow, awkward, uptight dimwits who are threatened by some smooth talker who can spin an argument or two. Are we seriously to believe that this guy is winning the arguments?
I wouldn't care if the movie actually pushed smoking, so long as it didn't assume we could be so easily won over by its tired semi-wit. And the meetings Nick has with his friends, the MOD squat (Merchants Of Death – his counterparts in the alcohol and gun industry) in some cheesy-looking upscale diner, are just plain contrived. I don't know where the tag-line "satirical" came from. Satire means "the use of wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to criticize faults." There is little irony here.
The film even goes further to prop up its "don't let the government ruin what makes America great and take away freedom of choice" message by making the senator so outrageous and far-fetched (he wants to digitally remove cigarettes from past movies that glamorize smoking). It is a silly attempt to discredit the antagonist. I won't even mention the whole "I slept with a hot reporter and told her all my secrets and would you believe it! she sold me out" twist.
This film could have been a breath of fresh air, a dig at political correctness or the nanny state society, but it just wasn't. Ultimately, it thinks its cleverer, and funnier, than it is. The only funny parts were those featuring Adam Broady (Seth from OC) and even then only because it made you remember that his kind of humour only fits in the self-mocking sun of the OC. It's like this film doesn't know what audience it's going for. Cynical types can see right through it, morally uptight people will laugh off its arguments, young rebellious kids might think its cool, but that's about it.
Thank You for Smoking is darkly funny, thought provoking, challenging to the status quo and is gripping from beginning to end. In my eyes it's an essential watch in American cinema.
It is easy to forget when watching unfocused schmaltz like Labor Day (2013) and Men, Women and Children (2014) that Jason Reitman began his career writing sharp satires concerning amoral people.
In Thank You For Smoking the amoral person in question is Nick Naylor, Aaron Eckhart in a turn that evokes his chilling performance in In The Company of Men (1997), a Big Tobacco spokesperson who must consider the ethics of his job when faced with educating his son. Naylor never experiences a change of heart and we as the audience are asked to support him despite his questionable tactics, Reitman's script creates a world in which we are on the side of the smarmy, manipulative corporate figure instead of the well-meaning bureaucrat, William H. Macy as Senator Finistirre, something that several social satires struggle to achieve.
The funniest and most insightful scenes in the film are without a doubt those in which Nick educates his son on how to argue using ice cream flavours as an exemplar, "Vanilla represents freedom and liberty." When the son can be later seen beating down his mother in argument, "It's not a negotiation it's an argument", and engaging in a class discussion about "Why the American Government is the greatest Government" with a smug smile on his lips we are asked to be both slightly disturbed at the road this innocent child will now be heading down but also to see the humor in a child adopting his Father's questionable ethics. Rob Lowe additionally makes a cameo in a laugh-out-loud scene in which he describes Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones "fucking" whilst blowing smoke rings. The MOD (Masters of Death) dinner scenes and Katie Holmes' â~comedic' lines are let down by their flat delivery but these are short deviations in an otherwise entertaining film.
One of the more devastating moments of the film occurs within a scene where the Marlboro Man (Sam Elliott) is being bribed. We establish just how masterful Eckhart is at his job and how cynical the film's view of capitalism is. The ethos of the entire film can be summed up in that one scene and the presence of Sam Elliott doesn't hurt. Unlike Up in the Air (2009), Eckhart's faÃ§ade is not torn down by a vulnerable would-be-victim but rather he harnesses these weaknesses and fully takes advantage of them, as a his character should. This lack of change in the central character is central to the film's success, although the film does veer off into random subplots, in one scene Eckhart has been kidnapped and has nicotine patches forced upon him, because it allows the film to maintain it's cynical view throughout and to point out the hypocrisy that a film with more heart would not be able to do without appearing to have undertaken a major tonal shift.
The weaker point of the film are Katie Holmes' and Maria Bello's performances as a ruthless, sexpot journalist and a ruthless alcohol spokeswoman, respectively. These are both roles that are meaty on the page and could have been real fun on screen but Holmes' difficulty with the comedic elements of the film leave us uninterested in her character until the third act plot twist after which her performance becomes markedly better. Bello simply employs a dead-eyed stare and monotone delivery that seems out of step with her two energetic co-stars Aaron Eckhart and David Koechner who tear into their roles with aplomb.
Cynicism is difficult to make entertaining on screen but Reitman achieves it with an entertaining, fast moving script that hardly wavers from it's central message and Eckhart is perfectly cast as a charming but ruthless man. It's certainly his fifth best film, better than his failures and minor entries but not quite his best. The film may not be for more sentimental audiences who enjoy seeing good men fighting for the â~right' ideals but if you are willing to be entertained by immorality for an hour and 32 minutes Thank You For Smoking is worth a viewing.
a tightly written "ahead of it's time" film with a decidedly likable or unlikable character. it's all up to the viewer.
A fresh political satire on the dangers of its health concerned products. Thank You For Smoking heavily benefits from the great direction of Ivan Reitman and the performance of Aaron Eckhart nailing it as the lead. We also have a fantastic script to boot. Lets not forget about the great underlining message it provokes with absolute glee. How human behavior makes the decision to buy, not the product selling it. Fantastic, you got to check out this underrated hidden gem.
A pretty good satire with witty dialogue, really good performances, and good direction by Jason Reitman.
to walk over that fine line between humor and drama..
Thank You For Smoking
Reitman's comedy satire about smoke and ashes is a home run for him since it achieves to walk over that fine line between humor and drama, something that great filmmakers have failed to do so. And he has done it in here with such fluidity that it leaves you in an awe of it. The story itself demands lots of monologues, arguments and logistics that are not statistical but social. And to write dialogues and conversations whilst delivering all of that is like climbing a slope against the wind. But Reitman has done it, and that sweetens his victory more.
One of the best bits of the feature is of course the relationship of the protagonist with his son. Since he has to explain all his higher ideal concepts in the most literal and simple way, this is the window where the writer is basically speaking with the audience in Layman's terms to advance the storyline. And yes it does get mechanical very quickly along with the structure of the script, but this corporate world that you are about to explore endorses it before you even go in, hence it is mandatory to feel like such.
And with bits of humor, one liners and sensational point of view through which Reitman argues with you, it is literally hard to argue back. Now amidst all these superness of the feature, the plot gets rusty within first few minutes as it practically screams the entire trajectory out on a podium before it even hits the screen that extracts the heat from the soul. Eckhart is convincing just as his logics are and along with him rides an amazing supporting cast like Simmons, Macy, Holmes, Elliot and Duvall and they all stand up to their caliber and deliver unflinchingly. Thank You For Smoking feels more like a sitcom than a picture, but hey, it works either way.