The term "Spin Doctor" is taken to new heights in Thank You For Smoking, an intensely satirical look at today’s modern culture of spin where everyone from the President of the U.S. to elementary school teachers are trying to spin something.
In Thank You, Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the "morally flexible"
spokesperson for Big Tobacco who makes his living defending the rights of smokers
and cigarette makers. With his smooth-talking ways he can convince anyone of anything
and doesn’t give a second thought to whom he might hurt. His logic becomes
more complicated when his son, Joey (Cameron Bright), shows promise of following
in his father’s footsteps.
Naylor becomes highly aware of the potentially harmful affect he has on Joey by
subjecting him to his twisted reasoning. But changing his ways and submitting
to what society would call morally responsible behavior will cost him his job
– not to mention the humiliation of admitting he might be wrong. But don’t
worry; Naylor is so convincing even you will be rooting for the kid to smoke.
Thank You For Smoking is based on Christopher Buckley’s acclaimed novel of
the same name and is adapted for the screen by Jason Reitman who also directs.
Reitman, in his directorial debut, uses unique editing to tell the story. By frequently
freezing shots he allows his lead character, Naylor, to fill the viewers in on
different aspects of the characters he is introducing. With this technique the
audience is given full admission into Naylor’s mind and how he views the
people surrounding him. The dialogue is witty, very fast and conjured up a few
good laughs throughout.
Eckhart’s character is highly convincing as a fast-talker with street smarts,
not to mention dashing good looks. There is never a doubt that he can bed the
most gorgeous girl in the room or get off scott-free for robbing a bank.
Cameron Bright, who has impressively nailed some complicated characters in the
past, regrettably did not shine as Joey Naylor. His lines are delivered in monotone
and come off as being over-rehearsed and lacking emotion.
One standout performance is delivered by William H. Macy as Senator Ortolan Finistirre
of Vermont who has made it his career goal to bring down the tobacco company.
His less-than-admirable motives often lead to fumbling speeches that are hopelessly
lacking when compared with Naylor’s eloquent rifts.
Thank You delivers too many great performances to mention them all. Highlights
include: Rob Lowe as the ultimate Hollywood-type agent who never sleeps and "is
the entertainment industry," Adam Brody as his too-accommodating and over-eager
assistant, Maria Bello and David Koechner as two-thirds of the self-proclaimed
MOD (Merchants of Death) Squad and Katie Holmes as the cut-throat journalist who
will stop at nothing to get the story she wants.
Film: Movie Reviews [Thank You For Smoking]
Thank You For Smoking
By Amy Dunn
Article posted on 3/13/2006
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