Thank You for Smoking
If you wondering, Katie … he would have been a better choice than Tom.


Golden Mug

NOMINEE: Adapted Screenplay (Jason Reitman-screenplay, Christopher Buckley-novel)

Theatrical Release Date: 03/17/2006
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Todd Louiso, J.K. Simmons, Maria Bello, David Koechner, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, Rob Lowe, Sam Elliott

For my argument on the worthiness of “Thank You for Smoking”, I’ll being with a few facts:

1) It is a satirical look at the lobbying industry, most notably that of the tobacco companies.

2) It stars a litany of well known actors.

3) It is directed by Jason Reitman, who is the son of the brilliant Ivan Reitman.

So this film should be great, right?

Well, yeah it pretty much is. Let me just dispense with the unpleasantries before I get on to why this is probably the funniest film to be released yet this year.

First, a small knock on the film is that it toes the line between satire and morality tale a bit too much. There were a couple of points in the film where I thought it would take the turn to Moralityville instead of continuing forward to Funnytown. I can’t decide if it was Reitman, who also wrote the screenplay, trying not to persuade people to smoke, or if his producers and/or the studio made him keep his distance from a full satire.

In any case, as annoying as that is, it’s nowhere near the issue I have with the actor chosen to play Eckhart’s son. As Eckhart is the central figure, a tobacco lobbyist with moral flexibility, his son and the process of raising him is also one of the main themes. As such, the audience is forced to endure one of the many clones of Cameron Bright.

You may be a bit bewildered by me calling him a clone but he’s played one in both the dreadful but titillating “Ultraviolet” and the horrendously stupid “Godsend”. Oh, and he also played the reincarnation of Nicole Kidman’s ex-husband in “Birth”. And he will be sure to stink up his role in the upcoming “X-Men 3”.

So I think you see the same pattern of Bright playing people who are not exactly human. It’s as if he’s a blank slate that filmmakers hope the audience will project themselves onto or something.

Because to be blunt, this kid can’t convey genuine emotion and I’m not entirely convinced he’s human.

If they remade “D.A.R.Y.L.” or the TV series “Small Wonder”, Bright would be at the top of the list. The next time you see him on the street, check for wires, circuit boards, dripping oil – anything that proves my theory.

Now that I think of it more, it’s like he’s a defective clone of the kid from “About a Boy”. Watch that and then “Thank You for Smoking” and you’ll see what I mean.

And while some people may say, “Hey, back off. He’s just a kid.” I say try watching any of his performances and see if you feel so protective then.

Okay … deep breath in … and … exhale …

Much better.

Back to “Thank You for Smoking”, aside from the aforementioned faux human child, everyone in the film is fantastic and adds their own chaotic and fun energy to the picture.

The film unfolds in a fairly straight line and I would have liked to have seen Reitman go a bit further sometimes and really push the edge of the satire genre but all the same, I had a great time.

Of particular mention are Rob Lowe, William H. Macy and David Koechner. The three of them really brought their A-game and kick this movie up a notch (to paraphrase the great Emeril).

Saying anything more would ruin the fun, so here’s the conclusion of my argument: If you like satire and need a good laugh, go check out “Thank You for Smoking”.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, I’m giving it a 4 out of 5. Anyone got a light?