Thank You for Smoking is a sharp-witted look at Washington lobbyists. You know, the guys who grease the legislative wheels in D.C., supporting such things as oil, guns, alcohol and cigarettes. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) lobbies for Big Tobacco. He can put a positive spin on anything, even things that everybody knows to be negative. In the opening scenes, he appears on the Joan Lunden show as the sole representative of tobacco producers against a panel including angry non-smokers, a health advocate, and a boy who's quit smoking because he came down with a case of the cancer. Naylor explains that the health advocate wants nothing more than to see Robin die to prove their point, but that it's in Big Tobacco's best interest to keep him alive and smoking. They go to commercial shaking hands.
His son, Joey (Cameron Bright), becomes interested in his father and begins to emulate him. Nick is glad to have his son so curious about his work, and he coaches Joey; through this interaction, we see the cunning in his methods. He tells his son that it's not important if he wins an argument as long as he doesn't lsose. As he explains to his son "That's the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you're never wrong."
When Nick meets with an angry ex-Marlboro cowboy (Sam Elliot) to offer a bribe, he seems to have lost from the get-go. Though I will not spoil it for you, the way Nick turns the situation to his advantage is amazing. He's a master of the game - he could sell water to a drowning man or woman (after bedding her). People who are closer to him are more wary of his skills and see the gears grinding as he tries to manipulate them.
Thank You for Smoking makes its viewers more aware of how things in D.C. really work. Unfortunately, I don't think the movie is far from the truth.
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