- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006

“Thank You for Smoking,” filmmaker Jason Reitman’s adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s satirical novel, is marked by the kind of merrily cynical worldview that sees hypocrisy everywhere and the dark side of everything. If, as in these five movies — in which comedy is sometimes the only consolation — the movie has a conscience, you’d be well-advised to think twice before trusting it.

In the Company of Men — There may be a scathing critique of Darwinian corporate culture in Neil Labute’s dark 1997 comedy, but the laughs come on the back of two misogynistic males’ treatment of a fragile woman.

War of the Roses Who, after witnessing the connubial carnage of this 1989 movie starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as spouses at loggerheads, could take the plunge in his or her right mind?

—Double Indemnity — Moral stain ecapes not a single character in Billy Wilder’s celebrated 1944 film noir about a deadly insurance fraud scheme.

Ace in the Hole— The great Mr. Wilder again, this time (1951) in an unsparing, prescient appraisal of a reporter’s exploitation of a trapped miner.

Team America: World Police — “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone make sport, this time as puppeteers, of right and left and dictators alike: of self-important Hollywood gadflies like Alec Baldwin, of the Bush administration’s war on terror and North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” President Kim Jong-il.

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