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Almost Makes Me Want To Smoke

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thank You For SmokingThank You For Smoking

Dir: Jason Reitman

The biggest irony of this thoroughly irony-laced movie is that, though it is about the trials and tribulations of Big Tobacco’s chief PR specialist and spinmaker, and focuses on the current debate involving the health risks of smoking, since it is still a Hollywood production, there is not a single scene in the movie’s entire 92 mins. where anyone is shown actually lighting up.

At one point, the film’s protagonist and said spinmaker Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), has his life saved by the fact that he is a smoker (I won’t give away how); but, given that we never see him, or anyone, actually taking a drag off a Virginia Slims or a Marlboro, as a plot element it rings somewhat hollow.

But, a minor quibble. This is a very smart and funny movie. First time director Jason Reitman was able to marshal an impressive cast for this satirical look at the ongoing struggle between personal choice and government’s quest to save people from themselves. Each character is a clever take on a familiar stereotype, and not only are the actors perfectly suited to their roles, they really seem to be enjoying themselves; Maria Bello, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy, Katie Holmes, J.K. Simmons and Robert Duvall all deliver performances that at once skewer the personas involved in the fight for and against Big Tobacco while also acting as slight parodies of themselves.

The script, adapted from the novel by Christopher Buckley, is intelligent and biting without being patronizing; there’s one scene in particular where Naylor is teaching his son (Cameron Bright) the lesson that “If you argue correctly, you’re never wrong,” which highlights the complexity of the issue without being preachy or polemical. That being said, the ending is a bit of a letdown in its predictability, but, it makes sense overall so you can’t really complain.

You may just get addicted to this movie!

Thank You For Seeing This Movie!

Okay, that was lame.03971semaj

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, July 13, 2006 9:12 am

    I quite agree. A rare smart comedy from Hollywood.

    Although I thought the fact that no one was ever shown smoking was actually part of the joke, and it was kind of a nice ‘oh yeah’ moment after the movie had finished.

  2. Thursday, July 13, 2006 9:36 am

    Could be, but I still think it had to do with precepts about showing people smoking in movies.

  3. Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:11 am

    Why does it almost make you want to smoke? Spending 92 minutes without seeing someone light up gets you antsy?

  4. Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:43 am

    Well, Wolverine smokes cigars all the time in X-Men, and bad guys smoke – Lex Luther had a cigar in Superman, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman smokes a cigarette briefly in Mission Impossible III.

    Here’s a funny site made by people who obviously do not enjoy anything:

  5. Thursday, July 13, 2006 12:02 pm

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, Graeme. Those folk at Scenesmoking seem to be having a blast writing those clever tags. Get a load of these:

    28 Days Later – R
    – The zombies got off easy in this one- they die quickly unlike the soldiers who hunt them who will die slow deaths from tobacco related diseases.

    Alien Vs. Predator – PG-13
    – The humans, aliens, and predators all know that tobacco is their common enemy.

    Basic Instinct 2 – R
    – Dr. Michael Glass may not have been sure of the real murderer, but tobacco is a clear killer in any case.

    Click – PG-13
    – If I had a universal remote that could control my universe… I’d delete the smoking scenes.

    Closer – R
    – The actors were misguided in both love and in their excessive use of cigarettes.

    Cursed – PG-13
    – The nonexistent tobacco in “Cursed” was as apparent as the full moon by which the werewolves transformed.

    Desperado II: Once Upon a Time in Mexico – R
    – Once Upon a Time in Mexico… the people didn’t live happily ever after because they smoked too much and had lung cancer.

    Herbie: Fully Loaded – G
    – The only smoking was done by Herbie on the racing track against other cars.

    And I’m only into the H’s. Lord, if I could write so well…

  6. Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:19 pm

    Re: Comment #3

    I guess I should have included a subtitle:

    JUST KIDDING!!! LOL!!! :) :) :)

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