Reviews & Previews - Thank You For Smoking

Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 06:00 PM

Thank You For Smoking

By: S. Tran

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, William H. Macy
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Rated: Rated R for language and some sexual content.

Cool and Satisfying

How do you defend the un-defendable? How do you lie without really lying? Aaron Eckhart shows you how in this nice little satire from Jason Reitman. Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a spokesperson for the tobacco industry who has the unenviable task of being the public face of one of the most hated businesses in America.

His bosses however have put their faith in the right man as Naylor shows us he has the ability to make lemonade out of raw sewage. Eckhart is a familiar face usually playing supporting roles in other films but here he is allowed to shine as a con man disguised as a public relations wizard. Naylor is at once part salesman, part flirt and part na•ve everyman who seems genuinely surprised at the venom directed towards big tobacco.

Even in the center of the storm Naylor manages to smooth talk his way out of any situation and his life seems uncomplicated by things such as conscience or morals. As he explains to his son (Bright), just like in a court of law, everyone deserves a fair defence and this is what he provides for his employers. Things go well in his life until he starts to bring his son along on his business trips and falls for a reporter (Holmes).

Eckhart's performance anchors the film, because everything falls apart unless he can muster the charm and charisma necessary to sell the role. Luckily he does a great job here. Naylor isn't a bad man, he just has to do bad things sometimes and utilize those "flexible morals" he speaks of. He reminds me a lot of Nicholas Cage in Lord of War. You like the character even though you totally disagree with what he is doing.

The rest of the cast is also good, although there are no other stand out performances compared to Eckhart's convincing portrayal. In fact some, like Holmes, are so forgettable that I completely forgot she was in the movie and had to look up who played her part. For the life of me I can't figure out why she keeps getting cast in these strong female roles.

Reitman's direction is good and he keeps the film moving along without too much extra filler to bog it down. The script is well written and has more laughs than some of the comedies being marketed these days. One of the pleasant surprises is the way the film sticks to its guns all the way through. There is no cop out at the end like some films and it is refreshing to see.

A small criticism of the movie might be that at 92 minutes the events may move a little too quickly without taking more time to develop interesting subplots, like the relationship between Naylor and his son. Because of this the film is a little one dimensional in its focus, but with a star like Eckhart it doesn't suffer that much. This is a good movie that will massage your brain a little while giving you a chance to laugh at some of the stupidity in our society. Worth a look.


3.5 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to