Thank You For Smoking
Aaron Eckhart has found the role of a lifetime.
He seems perfectly suited to play Nick Naylor, the spinmeister for cigarettes. This satirical comedy pits Big Tobacco's chief spokesman against those afflicted with cancer, medical experts, congressmen, even those who would seek to enact their revenge against a modern-day scourge. Naylor still comes out on top.
At the same time, he's seeking to be a role model for his son while his ex-wife looks on disapprovingly. It's tough, being the promoter of legal Sin while the world frowns. But Eckhart makes it look like fun. The nearest role modeling Nick can do for his son is to teach him how to argue. "If you argue right, you ARE right," he says, with some authority.
The rest of the cast is also marvelous. J.K. Simmons was born to play Naylor's boss, B.R., but....wait. J.K. was also born to play Spider-Man's newspaper boss. Oh, never mind: J.K. is brilliant here as the sarcastic-but-funny boss who's a little too honest. Cameron Bright plays Joey Naylor, Nick's son, and he looks so much like the kid from Star Wars: Episode One that I thought he must've taken some serious acting lessons. And Maria Bello and David Koechner, as the other members of the MOD Squad (Merchants of Death), representing Alcohol and Firearms, respectively, are just hilarious. Rob Lowe, as the smooth movie producer who goes along with putting cigarettes back into movies, is perfect casting.
The director must take huge credit for opening us up with Nick's narration, complete with subtitles, that throw us into the sardonic tone of the movie. We're laughing even before we meet Nick, and we're ready to take him into loving arms, mentally, even though we know he's gotta be evil.
Thumb's up for Thank You for Smoking.