Thank You For Smoking

So this afternoon I wandered outside to see this flick which just opened down the street. For some reason I was aggravated by this movie from the get-go even though I knew next to nothing about it. First off, I've had the book on my shelves for a long time (I got it free when I worked in publishing. everyone did.) and almost every time I go to my shelves to read a book that I haven't read yet, I pick this one up and look at it and then put it back on the shelf. This has been going on for ten years or so. It just looks swarmily boring or something. So does the trailer for this flick. I wasn't psyched to see this movie at all. (Was anyone really psyched?) At best, I thought it would come through as high-brow mediocre-- but it just fell short of that.

To make a long overtold story short. This movie is about the tobacco industry and how they're a bunch of hypocritical creeps who run around doubletalking and desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the truth. It stars the personality-free Allen Eggert. For someone who is cast to be a super charming over intelligent fast talking powerman, I thought he out-snoozed the snooziest of snoozers... Snoozy Mc Snooze! (aka Harrison Ford). Eggert bored me throughout. This movie would have been much better if it just had the kabangers to cast someone outside the box. Like that dwarf dude (what's his face) who rocks. Or even someone like Nicholas Cage in 1988 (back when this movie really should have been made).

Which brings me to the other thing that bothered me. To me, smoking feels like dead man walking. It's just a matter of time. The scam has been exposed. The Truth has done a nice funny job at hacking away at the scummy cigarette industry. So do I really need a whole movie about what went on behind the scenes a decade ago? It's dated. You can't smoke in bars in Manhattan anymore. The war is over. There's no ground to make up. Smoking is in a death spiral. This movie felt like it was just whipping the Marlboro Man's horse with robe belt. It was all so cutesy and pseudosmart. And the director guy decided that he was wearing his fancy pants and directified this thing up the yang with inconsistent fancy tricks and awkward spinny twirls. Whatever.

But the people around me seemed to be enjoying the movie so I suspect it was one of those flicks that maybe I'm not 'with it' enough to enjoy it right. Sort of like whenever I watched Arrested Development. I always understood it to be good. It just never convinced me of it. I knew it was very funny. But I never laughed. I would have been much happier watching a modern cigarette movie. Today's industry. The panic of plummeting annual sales. The clunky stabs at foreign market marketing. The failed attempts to stop laws falling over like dominoes. The pathetic attempts to try and develop an "alternative" smoking product. That to me is interesting and would be fun and fresh. Because this movie is like taking down a winter jacket and finding an old soft-pack in the inside pocket with one cigarette left smoke anyway hoping it will still be good... it ain't.... it's too dried out.

Three Good Things about this Movie

- Anything that bothers the tobacco industry is worth something.
- J. Jonah Schillinger always brings his yelly A-game.
- I guess there was a couple scenes I liked (even though now I can't recall them)

Three Bad Things about this Movie

- The kid was sort of annoying.
- I felt bad for Katie Holmes. She's all roont.
- The music was whatevery whateverish.

All in all maybe I'm being harsh on this movie. I mean it did seem like a 'noble' effort. But really. Who cares about spoofing the cigarette industry? It feels like yesterday's spoof. It prodded no rage in me- nor did it make me chuckle at the lunacy of the fact that an addictive product that causes cancer is allowed to stay on the market. It didn't make me laugh hard. No real bite. No sting. No suplexy slam. I thought it was a forgettable hollywooden noddily respectable right of passage circle tug.