THE MOVIE: "Thank You For Smoking", Fox Searchlight Pictures, rated R for sexuality and language, 92 minutes....If you decide to see this, be sure you like satire. It used to be said that satire closes on Saturday night so this one isn’t for everyone although it was tenth nationally in box office receipts two weeks ago.
"Thank You For Smoking" is a good adult comedy based on the book by Christopher Buckley that, at 92 minutes, is just the right length for a story of an expert master of the spin. That master is Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) and as he prances through the movie in his Armani suits, he brings new meaning to the definition of sleazy lobbyist. His job is to lobby for the big cigarette companies and because of this he is universally despised. Whether he is discussing his job to a classroom of kids which includes his twelve year old son (who implores his father to not "ruin my childhood") or is speaking before a Senate committee headed by a staunch, anti-smoking Senator (William H. Macy) who wants to put "poison" stickers on cigarette packs, Nick proudly embraces his belief that "if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.".
Some of the funniest scenes are the weekly lunch meetings with Nick and his pals from the gun and liquor lobbies (The M.O.D. squad, "merchants of death", David Koechner and Maria Bello). Robert Duvall is also good as the captain, the head of the pro smoking organizations. This movie is tough but has a heart as Nick has a special empathy for his son (Cameron Bright) which is a nice contrast to the negativity of his character. It is well worth seeing.