Thank You For Smoking (2005)

(In theaters, April 2006) Christopher Buckley’s satiric novel had me pleased, but hardly bowled over. The film adaptation produces a similar effect, though the sardonic tone of the narrator seems to work better in a cinematic context, especially when it’s strengthened by some clever direction. But after a promising start, Thank You For Smoking gradually settles in a comfortable groove, a move that’s not helped by changes bringing this film away from the thriller plot-line of the book to a more conventional “moral redemption on the kid’s behalf” third act. But even those changes fail to do much damage to the film: Aaron Eckhart does really well with a role that allows him to caricature his squared-jawed all-American looks; other supporting players do just as well. While Thank You For Smoking fails to make any lasting impression, it’s a pleasant time at the movies and plays well enough to satisfy anyone.

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