Reviews

Thank You For Smoking

3

“It’s so hard to do these commentaries,” says first-time writer/director and virgin yak-tracker Jason “Son of Ivan” Reitman. “You’re forced to say interesting things and you’re supposed to be funny.” Well, either would be nice. Certainly better than: “This scene was fun to do.” Or, “You’re so good in these scenes.” Still, while star Aaron Eckhart tends to opt for such bland pleasantries, at least Reitman sounds off with the occasional: “Some would say that I’m ripping off Soderbergh,” when discussing the film’s colour palette. “But to those people, I would say, ‘Fuck you!’” The occasional, mind.

Adapted from Christopher Buckley’s 1994 novel, Reitman’s sharp and often very funny satire on the “possibilities of spin” works best when directly skewering its targets – cigarettes, Hollywood – but gets a tad too schmaltzy come the third act. Playing tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor, Eckhart kicks serious butt as the sharp-suited, quick-quipped mouth of the cigarette industry, comparing death rates with fellow spin doctors Maria Bello (booze) and David Koechner (guns), and charged with getting Hollywood stars to spark up on screen again (kudos to Rob Lowe’s samurai-obsessed super agent). But Smoking loses puff when the movie swaps subversion for sentimentality, as Nick finds redemption and learns how to be a better dad...

The commentary improves as it goes on, but those heading to the deleted scenes in search of the ‘missing’ Katie Holmes nude sex scene will be disappointed.

 

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