Alternate Reviews

Friday, October 06, 2006

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (Alternate Review)

Aaron Eckhart Thank You For Smoking Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Aaron Eckhart
Reviewed by Byron Merritt



There’s something to be said for a film that makes no apologies for being completely politically incorrect, and THANK YOU FOR SMOKING certainly has something to say.

That audiences may find themselves cheering on "the bad guy" will make this movie all the more entertaining. Aaron Eckhart (SUSPECT ZERO) stars as Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the tobacco companies, and he’s very good at what he does. One of his sayings is "If you argue well enough, you’re never wrong." The moral flexibility Nick has is akin to an ethical gymnast. But his son Joey (Cameron Blight, ULTRAVIOLET) is growing up fast and is learning the ways of the father. We see Nick navigating these parental waters with a touch of dignity and a splash of chagrin. Can he be a good father while towing the line for the tobacco companies and telling everyone that cigarettes are a personal choice rather than a death sentence?

William H. Macy (
EDMOND) stars as Senator Finistirre, "the good guy" who is trying to get a skull and crossbones image stamped on every carton of cigarettes. But he’s also a politician, trying to further his own career. He represents a state that produces tons of fatty cheeses, thus adding to Americans weight and cholesterol problems. And he most certainly isn’t above taking campaign contributions from businesses, is he?

That the film is filled with contradictions and hilarious moral dilemmas is a tribute to the author of the book,
Christopher Buckley. That he can turn the tables on alcohol, tobacco and firearms (all of which are addressed in the name of "business") is a testament to some damn fine writing.

What makes the movie work so well is Aaron Eckhart’s affable portrayal of Nick. He’s so darn likeable yet utterly incomprehensible (in the moral sense) that the audience will be grudgingly cheering him on. That he can out-maneuver his opponent (Macy) makes the movie-watcher dislike whom they really should be cheering for! What a turnabout!

The ensemble cast is incredible, too. In addition to Eckhart, Macy and Blight, there’s Maria Bello (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE), Sam Elliott (TOMBSTONE), Katie Holmes (PIECES OF APRIL), Rob Lowe (THE WEST WING, TV series), Robert Duvall (THE APOSTLE), and quite a few other notables.

This film must certainly be on people’s top-ten list of movies to watch ...if they haven’t caught it already.

Click here for the Thank You For Smoking movie trailer!

Click here for Chad's review of Thank You For Smoking