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Thank You For Smoking
Posted to Movies at 05:36 PM on Jan 29, 2007

2006. Fox Searchlight Pictures. Directed by Jason Reitman. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, Katie Holmes and Maria Bello.

Katie Holmes is just not a very good actress. She's the least convincing femme fatale ever. She's pretty, but a scheming seductress she's not. Her character barely looks like she's thinking of anything besides what she's having for lunch. So the idea that she can outfox wily spin-master Nick Naylor (Eckhart) is utterly implausible.

Hell, Maria Bello, who plays a booze industry lobbyist, would have been tons better. Bello is stuck with a small, thankless role and still outshines Holmes.

The whole movie revolves around Holmes' character, Heather Holloway, writing a highly damaging article about Nick. From there, Nick plunges into a spiral of pain and humiliation. Holmes' doe-eyed, monotone, lifeless portrayal of Heather shatters the whole premise of the movie.

Thank You For Smoking is a satire. It's based on a book. Nick Naylor is a paid flunkie of the tobacco industry. He has an impressionable young son and a disapproving ex. His fling with Heather is his downfall and he is exposed as the dirtbag he is.

I like my satires to be more biting, frankly. Rob Lowe, as a movie executive, has the right idea. He plays a sleazy Hollywood type fit for a satire. The script is too tame and the performances too low-key (except for Holmes, who is just bad). Lowe cranks it up a little bit and manages to be the one memorable part of the movie.

Otherwise, Thank You For Smoking is really kind of forgettable. Jason Reitman, a first-time director, does a decent job, but really doesn't give us much to chew on.


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