Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Jason Reitman, Christopher Buckley (novel)
Release Date: April 14, 2006 (USA)
Thank You for Smoking - the title alone should help gauge a person's interest in such a comedy. The movie is a satire, fueled by the kind of black comedy and quality dialogue that could only come from a book adaptation - Thank You for Smoking is based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Buckley. Starring in the movie is Aaron Eckhart as Nick Naylor, the chief spokesman and vice president for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, aka Big Tobacco. Naylor's job is to talk. He is master of the art of spin, superhero like with his power, and as he often reminds the viewer, he's damn good at his job. But as we come to find out, Naylor's other major role in life is role-model for his impressionable twelve-year-old son.
The selling points here are Eckhart and the dialogue, especially that of the secondary characters. Eckhart is instantly appealing, and he somehow convinces the viewer to side with him, even if he does represent Big Tobacco. As Naylor he is funny, charming, and easy to forgive. On a somewhat related note, I'm anticipating The Dark Knight even more after finding out what Eckhart can accomplish on-screen. To reiterate, the dialogue is great - it's usually a more subtle humor, but there are laugh out loud moments. I could drop a few lines as examples, but they wouldn't make much sense without context or an actor's delivery. Hell, I'll give it a try: "The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese." See what I mean? But believe me, lines like this make the movie.
I could see some people being wary of going into a movie which features Mr. Big Tobacco as its protagonist. But there's no moral high ground in Thank You for Smoking, only grounds for humor, and even some responsibility. I find the following quote by Straylight Run to be a fitting summary of character motivation and the movie as a whole: "It's not life or death, it's only business."