THANK YOU FOR SMOK­ING (2006) TEN, 10.45PM, M, COM­EDY

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - HIGHLIGHTS -

Thank You for Smok­ing is a breath of fresh air. It’s an Amer­i­can satire wor­thy of the ti­tle. Like Elec­tion and Wag The Dog be­fore it, Ja­son Reit­man’s com­edy pokes fun at pol­i­tics, lob­by­ists, the me­dia and even Hol­ly­wood it­self, while deftly avoid­ing the prob­lems that plague so many Amer­i­can come­dies: pulling punches and sen­ti­men­tal­ity. No chance of that here. This is an ad­dic­tive laugh­fest that’ll leave you gasp­ing for more. Smok­ing fo­cuses on to­bacco in­dus­try lob­by­ist Nick Nay­lor (Aaron Eck­hart), a quick-think­ing, smart-mouthed guy who’s paid to de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble: can­cer sticks. Watch­ing him twist logic and turn his de­trac­tors’ ar­gu­ments in on them­selves is a hoot. Eck­hart is the per­fect fit. He has the sort of devil-may-care, trust-me-if-youdare smile that is ir­re­sistible. He’s a rogue, for sure, but a lovable one. But he does have a con­science, of sorts. His 12-year-old son (Cameron Bright) adores his old man and shows prom­ise of fol­low­ing in his foot­steps. Nay­lor is only too aware that he’s hated, but he does have friends. He shares reg­u­lar meals with two other pari­ahs, lob­by­ists for al­co­hol (Maria Bello) and firearms (J.K. Sim­mons). To­gether they are the MOD squad (mer­chants of death) and spend their time com­par­ing notes or bick­er­ing over whose prod­uct kills the most. The writ­ers love ana­grams. Apart from the MOD squad, there’s a Hol­ly­wood agent (Rob Lowe) who runs En­ter­tain­ment Global Or­gan­i­sa­tion and Sim­mons fronts a pro-gun group called SAFETY. Th­ese are ob­vi­ous jokes, but the script has many more clever and sub­tle high­lights, which are best left for you to dis­cover for your­self. In the hands of such an ac­com­plished cast, the re­sult is spot-on. Wil­liam H. Macy plays a zeal­ous se­na­tor on an anti-smok­ing cru­sade, Robert Du­vall does a good ol’ job as a to­bacco baron, and Adam Brody is hi­lar­i­ous as Lowe’s as­sis­tant. Katie Holmes pops up as a re­porter will­ing to do any­thing to get a story. As come­dies go, Smok­ing is ad­dic­tive (a bit like bad puns, come to think of it). ★★★★

Nec­es­sary evil: Aaron Eck­hart goes against the grain in Thank YouForSmok­ing.

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