Thank You For Smoking

Bomb Rating: 

There was some rumor that Tom Cruise put some pressure on the producers of this film and had Katie Holmes's sex scene cut out during a recent premiere. Director Jason Reitman responded that Cruise interfered in no way and that the print had simply been miscut and the scene would reappear in the final cut.

Now, I couldn't care less what Tom Cruise did or didn't do, the point here is that this raises my expectations of this scene. I mean, the coincidence seems a little too, um, coincidental, and if it was so racy that it just got "lost," well, that is maybe interesting. Could there be full frontal nudity? Perhaps Katie is having sexual intercourse on top of a copy of "Dianetics"?

I'm here to report that no such thing occurs and if you're looking to see Katie naked, you still have to rent "The Gift." This film is a supposed comedy focusing on one Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Basically, director Jason Reitman takes a kind of Orwellian (as in "Politics and the English Language" Orwell) view of political language today, which is to say, this is nothing new. As if we didn't already know that tobacco lobbyists and politicians engage in hyperbole to further their own cause. It would be funny if millions of people hadn't already died from smoking.

Nick is unapologetic about his role in promoting smoking. Obviously, we're not supposed to take Nick seriously, but because this is Hollywood, and director Reitman is the spawn of Ivan Reitman, there's irony spewing from this thing like an overflowing volcano. Is the stuff coming out of Hollywood that much different than what comes out of a cigarette? Most of it is mind cancer.

It should be said that Reitman doesn't simply skewer the easy, right-wing targets, but is equally contemptuous of a left-wing politician, Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy) and a movie executive, Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe). Again, the whole movie has that sense that it was made by somebody inside this club who's pretending to stand outside of it for just a moment to cash in.

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