Thank You For Smoking

on March 17, 2006 by Susan Green
Good satire skewers all sides of an issue. That's how Alexander Payne navigated the controversial subject of abortion in "Citizen Ruth." A smart feature debut by director Jason Reitman (son of Ivan), "Thank You for Smoking" also takes no prisoners while zeroing in on tobacco and its opponents.

Aaron Eckhart plays lobbyist Nick Naylor, who cleverly defends the industry on behalf of his amoral bosses (J.K. Simmons and Robert Duvall). As an equally calculating, Birkenstock-wearing U.S. Senator from Vermont, William H. Macy wants a poison label on every pack of cigarettes. Nick regularly schmoozes with fellow PR people representing alcohol (Maria Bello) and firearms (David Koechner), but fails to heed their warning about an ambitious reporter (Katie Holmes) interviewing him for a Washington Post profile. He visits Hollywood, where a spectacularly self-absorbed agent (Rob Lowe) pledges more placement of this addictive product in the movies. Even Nick's love for his adoring son (Cameron Bright) cannot escape the withering barbs of a comedy likely to delight both mainstream and art-house audiences. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, William H. Macy, Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall, J.K. Simmons, Rob Lowe and Sam Elliott. Directed and written by Jason Reitman. Produced by David O. Sacks. A Fox Searchlight release. Satire. Rated R for language and some sexual content. Running time: 92 min

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