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hello film lover.

sit back, relax, enjoy.

 
15

Thank You For Smoking

release date 16/06/2006

"Michael Jordan plays ball.

Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.

" - Nick Naylor, chief spokesman for Big Tobacco. Based on Christopher Buckley's satirical novel about the culture of spin inside the multi-billion dollar tobacco industry, Thank You For Smoking is a wickedly funny portrait of one man's shameless abuse of the system for his own ends. Writer-director Jason Reitman navigates this high-powered, high profit world of carefully manipulated facts and figures with aplomb, creating a lovable rogue in his anti-hero, Nick, played with effusive charm by Aaron Eckhart. Nick is a sharp-suited company man, who uses his good looks and well-honed oratory skills to deflect any loaded question with one of his own.

When he agrees to give a talk in front of his son's class, and the youngsters say their parents have told them not to smoke, Nick counters: "If your parents told you chocolate was dangerous, would you believe them?" Of course, the little ones shake their heads. "If you argue correctly, you are never wrong," Nick later confides in his 12-year-old son Joey (Cameron Bright), fuelling the youngster's rebellious streak. Believing his own hype, Nick is delighted (and none too surprised) when Washington reporter Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes) asks to interview him for a profile piece; publicity which could offset the threat posed by opportunistic senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H Macy), who is spearheading a campaign to have 'Poison' stickers positioned on the front of all packs of cigarettes. True to form, Nick ends up sleeping with Heather, believing that he has her wrapped around his little, nicotine-stained finger.

When she betrays him, he's aghast: "I presumed anything said while inside you was privileged!" Meanwhile, Nick pursues an agenda to make smoking sexy again by ingratiating himself to Hollywood super-agent Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe). Jeff is one of the most important movers and shakers in the film community. According to his toady assistant Jack (Adam Brody), Jeff was responsible for creating the phenomenon of Matthew McConaughey: "Before Jeff took him on, he was a face - now he's a name!" Nick hopes that Jeff can magic up a futuristic sci-fi blockbuster featuring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Brad Pitt and a pack of 20. The outlook seems positive.

"Can Brad blow smoke rings?" asks Nick. "I don't have that information...

" replies Jeff matter-of-factly. But how far is Nick willing to go to get the whole world to inhale? Thank You For Smoking cuts a swathe through all of its targets, poking merciless fun at the entertainment and tobacco industries, and the public's gullibility when faced with a so-called expert. The dialogue crackles with polished one-liners and put-downs. Nick's appearance in front of a congressional hearing chaired by Finistirre is hysterical, with the spin doctor somehow using rhetoric to question dairy exports from the senator's home state.

"That's ludicrous. The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!" splutters the politician. Wonderful stuff.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2006, All Rights Reserved.



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