THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (Jason Reitman, 2005)
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING'S All-American, strong-jawed Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) speaks on behalf of cigarette manufacturers as though his employer were selling the most innocuous product available. The tobacco lobbyist is good at his job and relishes a challenge. He gets one when Vermont Senator Ortolan K. Finistirre (William H. Macy) pushes to have packs of smokes labeled as poison.
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING skewers the prevailing political notion that two truths exist rather than a right answer and a wrong answer. Throw enough money into a think tank and present statistics in the most advantageous light and you can prove whatever you like, even that the earth is flat. Jason Reitman’s satire, adapted from Christopher Buckley’s novel, takes aim at the whole system, not just a blame-dodging Big Tobacco. One side may be more correct, but Reitman exposes lobbyists, politicians, and victims as opportunists looking to parlay their worldview into economic gain.
It goes without saying that what Nick does is morally questionable at best even if the tobacco corporations need representation. As he first demonstrated in Neil LaBute’s IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, Eckhart’s good looks and persuasive manner mask his character’s devilish agenda. In this case, it’s to make scientific truth relative instead of absolute. Bolstered by outrageous humor, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING grazes the main players and bystanders discussing national welfare from their own self-interest.