Thank You For Smoking (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/06/2006

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Enjoyable satire with a sharp script and strong performances, though it's not quite focussed enough to really stick the knife in.

What's it all about?
Aaron Eckhart stars as hotshot tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor, who enjoys weekly games of one-upmanship with his fellow merchants of death, lobbyists for alcohol (Maria Bello) and guns (David Koechner).

The film examines a week in Nick's life, as he attempts to bond with his son (Cameron Bright), conducts an interview with a lusty journalist (Katie Holmes), schmoozes the big boss (Robert Duvall), and tries to persuade Hollywood hotshots (Rob Lowe and Adam Brody) to allow more smoking in films, the dying-of-cancer Marlboro Man (Sam Elliott) to take a pay-off and come off best in a battle of wits with an anti-smoking senator (William H Macy).

The Good
Writer-director Jason Reitman has assembled a terrific ensemble cast and he gets note-perfect performances from all concerned. The stand-outs are Eckhart (whose natural charm ensures that he remains sympathetic), Sam Elliott, JK Simmons (as Nick's boss), Duvall and Macy, who gets to deliver the film's best line.

The sharply written script is gleefully amoral, relishing the chance to be as politically incorrect as possible. The surprising thing is that it works as well as it does, making some valid points whilst getting in some particularly vicious satirical barbs.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it spreads itself too thin, with the result that there's not really much of a plot and some of its attacks are muted as a result.

That said, the story takes some amusing twists and Reitman's stylish direction keeps it ticking along nicely.

Worth seeing?
Thank You For Smoking is definitely worth seeing for its writing and performances but it's not quite as clever as it thinks it is.

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Content updated: 20/07/2019 21:06

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