Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thank You For Smoking is a wickedly brilliant movie. Aaron Eckhart is perfectly cast as the guy everyone ought to hate, but doesn't - Nick Naylor, Vice-President and Chief Spokesman of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, the main spin doctor and lobbyist of the tobacco industry. Nick is slick, smooth and glib. He smarms and he smirks, but he exudes likability so much so that you can't help but like him and his fellow lobbyists, Polly Bailey (Maria Bello with a great haircut), alcohol, and Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner), firearms. Collectively, they're known as the M.O.D Squad (Merchants of Death) and they compete to see whose products kill off the most people.

A central part of the movie is how Nick deals with his son, Joey (Cameron Bright). While in reality, most people would condemn a tobacco lobbyist bringing his son along with him on business trips, the moments we see them as they bond are oddly enough, very sweet. In Joey's eyes, Nick can do no wrong. And yet, there's nothing in the film itself that I would condemn as being bad parenting. "The beauty of an argument is that if you argue correctly, you're never wrong," Nick tells his son, and indeed, this is the case throughout the whole show.

The funniest scene in the movie (and there are so many to choose from!) must surely be when Nick is sent to Hollywood to meet agent Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe looking good) with the aim of getting movies to "put sex back into cigarettes." Adam Brody is laugh-out-loud funny as Jack Bein, Jeff's assistant, incredibly hyper such that he's either got ADD or on something.

Go watch this movie before its run is finished. You won't regret it. And if you're observant enough, and I'm sure you are, you'll notice that there isn't a single act of smoking shown throughout the whole film.

Lesson learnt from TYFS: To be right, all you have to do is prove the other side's wrong.

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