Archives / 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Thank You for Smoking

Director: Jason Reitman

Screenwriters: Christopher Buckley, Jason Reitman

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Description

The last time he was at Sundance, we jokingly told Jason Reitman, "After three short films, you can only return with a feature." Ask, and you shall receive. Thank You for Smoking is not only hilarious, but it also demonstrates a confident filmmaking maturity that should skyrocket a long career.

Thank You for Smoking is nearly perfect in three ways:
First—premise. Nick Naylor, fast-thinking master of media manipulation, is tapped to turn the tide of animosity away from the tobacco industry. Nick can talk his way in or out of anything, but this time he pulls out the big gun—Hollywood
Second—pace. Reitman's script is crisp and tight. Every joke and sight gag lands a punch. This hard-hitting satire takes us right to the edge but never over. Setups take place in real-world situations just close enough to the truth to scare us into laughter.
Third—casting. The whole ensemble, led by Aaron Eckhart with his smug good looks, could not be better. Maria Bello's liquor lobbiest and David Koechner's gun advocate complete the mod squad of merchants-of-death who meet each week to brag about the spin they have unleashed.

Film number four is a charm for Reitman, who achieves the near impossible: making us think and laugh at the same time.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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