Movie Review: THANK YOU FOR SMOKINGRoom 9 Entertainment
2005
R

“Michael Jordan plays ball. Charlie Manson kills people. I talk.”

As the Vice President of and the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, Nick Naylor is the best at what he does. Which happens to be being the public spokesperson defender of smoker’s rights, providing information for the “other” side of the Big Tobacco hot button. Basically, he’s a spin-doctor, a devil’s advocate in this era of Truth.com propaganda. Emphasis on the “devil” part. And he’s got his hands full, with an uptight senator, a backstabbing boss, smarmy Hollywood execs, a rich (and dying) tobacco baron, a conniving (and rather comely) newspaper reporter, and- probably his biggest challenge of all- his son, who worships him as a hero…

I must say, I completely enjoyed this movie. It’s the kind of dark comedy that pokes fun at both sides of a hot-button topic (this of course being the anti-smoking and anti-Big Tobacco wackiness that’s been going on of late). On the one hand, you’ve got this guy who’s clearly made out to be a detestable antihero, yet he’s so charming and charismatic, you can’t help but like the guy and see things his way (even if you strongly disagree with what he represents). Then, you’ve got the Senator and crusaders looking to curb the sale of something that poses a potential health risk in humans, and they’re made out to be rather uptight with an “ends justifies the means” attitude with their crusade. No one is made out to be clearly good or clearly evil. It doesn’t shove any side of the moral issue down your throats. It simply presents both sides of the smoking issue…

…in a tongue-firmly-in-cheek, satirical and darkly funny way. It made me think, and also used the absurd to point out the absurd. To whit, I loved how, in one crucial scene, smoking actually saved Nicks life. Now that’s good ironic satire…

Most of the actors handled their parts very well…save for, perhaps, Cameron Bright, who you may remember as the young psychotic brother in the movie Butterfly Effect (at first I mistook him for Jake “DON’T CALL ME ANIKAN SKYWALKER!” Lloyd…I mean, he had the cheeks goin’ there…it was an easy mistake, really…and the same acting chops). His overall delivery was like that of a first-day-on-the-job outbound telemarketer still getting the hang of the script reading part, it was that wooden and lifeless. Otherwise, great movie, without all that needless moralizing going on…recommended…

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