Sunday, April 09, 2006

Thank You For Smoking

Thank You For Smoking, as it turns out, is pretty good. It's not really about whether smoking is bad or whether Big Tobacco is bad, and ultimately, it's not even that interested in telling you whether Aaron Eckhart's character, tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor, is bad, as much as it's interested in exploring how he does what he does.

The movie takes for granted that you know that, yeah, cigarettes are bad for you, and, yeah, people who work for tobacco companies are probably assholes, just as it takes for granted that smokers have chosen to smoke knowing the risks. The trailer moment that best captures what the movie is about is the part where Nick tells his son, "If you argue correctly, you're never wrong." Nick is pretty much an asshole, but he's charismatic and unflappably confident, and the movie is mostly about testing how far Nick can go on the power of his arguments. Whether Nick can live with himself is a question that's present, but--refreshingly--not terribly significant.

As for that discussion we had about Lord of War and whether it's possible to make a movie criticizing something without implicitly glamorizing it, director Jason Reitman dodges the question entirely by not showing anyone actually smoking.

The movie is funny, too. The cast is great, and Katie Holmes, well... she doesn't ruin it.


Simon said...

Yeah I thought it was pretty fun too.
Enjoyed the stuff at the hollywood agency quite a bit.

Is it just me though, or does every website list it as a 92 minute movie and it's really an 104 minute movie? Not a big deal, but my watch didn't indicate a 92 minute movie (maybe trailers played tricks with my mind).

Kenny said...

The agency stuff was great. Adam Brody and Rob Lowe were both excellent. I didn't pay attention to how long it was but it seemed just right.

Zack said...

I wanted to see this, but I guess I didn't.