Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Joey Naylor: what happens when you're wrong?
Nick Naylor: Whoa, Joey I'm never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But you can't always be right...
Nick Naylor: Well, if it's your job to be right, then you're never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But what if you are wrong?
Nick Naylor: OK, let's say that you're defending chocolate, and I'm defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you: 'Vanilla is the best flavour ice-cream', you'd say...
Joey Naylor: No, chocolate is.
Nick Naylor: Exactly, but you can't win that argument... so, I'll ask you: so you think chocolate is the end all and the all of ice-cream, do you?
Joey Naylor: It's the best ice-cream, I wouldn't order any other.
Nick Naylor: Oh! So it's all chocolate for you is it?
Joey Naylor: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
Nick Naylor: Well, I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice-cream, and that Joey Naylor, that is the defintion of liberty.
Joey Naylor: But that's not what we're talking about
Nick Naylor: Ah! But that's what I'm talking about.
Joey Naylor: ...but you didn't prove that vanilla was the best...
Nick Naylor: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right.
Joey Naylor: But you still didn't convince me
Nick Naylor: It's that I'm not after you. I'm after them.
[points into the crowd]
Nick Naylor: That's the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you're never wrong.
Kid #3: My Mommy says smoking kills.
Nick Naylor: Oh, is your Mommy a doctor?
Kid #3: No.
Nick Naylor: A scientific researcher of some kind?
Kid #3: No.
Nick Naylor: Well, then she's hardly a credible expert, is she?
BR: We don't sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they're cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.
Nick Naylor: Few people on this planet knows what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organization that kills 1200 people a day. Twelve hundred people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women and children. I mean, there's Attila, Genghis... and me, Nick Naylor. The face of cigarettes, the Colonel Sanders of nicotine.
Nick Naylor: My point is that you have to think for yourself. If your parents told you that chocolate was dangerous would you take their word for it?
[Children say no]
Nick Naylor: Exactly! So perhaps instead of acting like sheep when it comes to cigarettes you should find out for yourself.
Nick Naylor: My job requires a certain... moral flexibility.
BR: People, what is going on out there? I look down this table, all I see are white flags. Our numbers are down all across the board. Teen smoking, our bread and butter, is falling like a shit from heaven! We don't sell Tic Tacs for Christ's sake. We sell cigarettes. And they're cool and available and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us!
Nick Naylor: [out loud] "I just need to pay the mortgage."
Nick Naylor: [to self] The Yuppie Nuremberg defense.
Nick Naylor: These days, when someone smokes in the movies, they're either a psychopath... or a European.
Polly Bailey: You didn't tell her about us, did you?
Nick Naylor: Who? Heather? No!... I mean, maybe in passing.
Polly Bailey: In passing.
Bobby Jay Bliss: Oh God, he fucked her. I tried to warn you...
Polly Bailey: Hey, he didn't fuck her. You didn't fuck her, did you?
[Nick doesn't answer]
Polly Bailey: When?
Bobby Jay Bliss: In passing.
Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they're looking to make.
Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space?
Jeff Megall: It's the final frontier, Nick.
Nick Naylor: But wouldn't they blow up in an all oxygen environment?
Jeff Megall: Probably. But it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue. 'Thank God we invented the... you know, whatever device.'
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: That's ludicrous - The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
Brad: Nick, your job and everything aside, I hope you understand that second hand smoke's a real killer.
Nick Naylor: What are you talking about?
Brad: I just hope you're providing a smoke-free environment for Joey is all I'm saying.
Nick Naylor: Brad, I'm his *father*. You're the guy fucking his mom.
Brad: That was unnecessary.
Nick Naylor: After watching the footage of the Kent State shootings, Bobby Jay, then seventeen, signed up for the National Guard so that he, too, could shoot college students.
Lorne Lutch: I didn't even smoke Marlboros. I smoked Kools.
Dennis Miller: Now we'll take a break. I need to fire a call screener.
Nick Naylor: Few people on this planet know what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organizing that kills one thousand two hundred human beings a day; twelve hundred people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women, and children. I mean there's Attila, Genghis, and me, Nick Naylor the face of cigarettes, the colonel sanders of nicotine. This is where I work, the Academy of Tobacco Studies. It was established by seven gentlemen you may recognize from C-Span. These guys realized quick if they were gonna claim cigarettes were not addictive they better have proof. This is the man they rely on, Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt. They found him in Germany. I won't go into the details. He's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for thirty years, and hasn't found any conclusive results. The man's a genius, he could disprove gravity. Then we got our sharks. We draft them out of Ivy League law schools and give them timeshares and sports cars. It's just like a John Grisham novel. Well you know without all the espionage. Most importantly we got spin control. That's where I come in. I get paid to talk. I don't have an MD or law degree. I have a baccalaureate in kicking ass and taking names. You know that guy who can pick up any girl, I'm him on crack.
Joey Naylor: Mom, why can't I go to California?
Jill Naylor: Because, California's just not a safe place. And besides, I'm not sure it's appropriate for your father to bring you on a business trip.
Joey Naylor: Appropriate for who?
Jill Naylor: What?
Joey Naylor: Mom, is it possible that you're taking the frustration of your failed marriage out on me?
Jill Naylor: Excuse me?
Joey Naylor: This California trip seems like a great learning opportunity and a chance for me to get to know my father. But if you think it's more important to use me to channel your frustration against the man you no longer love, I'll understand.
Nick Naylor: I don't have a MD or law degree. I have a bachelor's in kicking butt and taking names.
Jeff Megall: [Talking to Nick on the phone, late at night] Gotta go. London. It's 7 AM in the Old Empire.
Nick Naylor: When do you sleep?
Jeff Megall: [pause] Sunday.
Polly Bailey: How about it Nick, are you a tit man?
Bobby Jay Bliss: Don't answer that, that's a trap.
Nick Naylor: Depends on the tits.
BR: The rest of you people go slam your fuckin' brains against your desks until something useful comes out!
Nick Naylor: That's disgusting!
Bobby Jay Bliss: It's American.
[From trailer]
Jack: Okay, I'm gonna bring your dad in now. Is there anything I can get you, like an orange juice, or a coffee, or a Red Bull?
Joey Naylor: No, thanks.
Jack: Okay.
[High fives Joey]
Bobby Jay Bliss: Did you know that you can fool the breathalizer test by chewing on activated charcoal tablets?
Polly Bailey: Well, maybe we should change our slogan to "If you must drink and drive, suck charcoal."
Nick Naylor: Won't the police ask about the charcoal in your mouth?
Bobby Jay Bliss: There's not a law against charcoal.
Polly Bailey, Nick Naylor: Yet.
Joey Naylor: [as Nick comes to speak to Joey's class about his job] Please don't ruin my childhood.
Jack: I'm going to impale your mom on a spike and feed her dead body to my dog with syphilis.
Brad: Ha, you got me!
Jack: [to Nick and Joey Naylor] Inside joke.
Nick Naylor: Right there, looking into Joey's eyes, it all came back in a rush. Why I do what I do. Defending the defenseless, protecting the disenfranchised corporations that have been abandoned by their very own consumers: the logger, the sweatshop foreman, the oil driller, the land mine developer, the baby seal poacher...
Polly Bailey: Baby seal poacher?
Bobby Jay Bliss: Even *I* think that's kind of cruel.
Senator Dupree: Mr. Naylor, there's no need for theatrics.
Nick Naylor: I'm sorry. I just don't see the point in a warning label for something people already know.
Senator Dupree: The warning symbol is a reminder, a reminder of the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
Nick Naylor: Well, if we want to remind people of danger why don't we slap a skull and crossbones on all Boeing airplanes, Senator Lothridge. And all Fords, Senator Dupree.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: That is ridiculous. The death toll from airline and automobile accidents doesn't even skim the surface cigarettes. They don't even compare.
Nick Naylor: Oh, this from a Senator who calls Vermont home.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: I don't follow you, Mr. Naylor.
Nick Naylor: Well, the real demonstrated #1 killer in America is cholesterol. And here comes Senator Finistirre whose fine state is, I regret to say, clogging the nation's arteries with Vermont Cheddar Cheese. If we want to talk numbers, how about the millions of people dying of heart attacks? Perhaps Vermont Cheddar should come with a skull and crossbones.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: That is lu - . The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor, we are here to discuss cigarettes - not planes, not cars - cigarettes. Now as we discussed earlier these warning labels are not for those who know but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
Nick Naylor: Gentlemen, it's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. it comes from our teachers, and more importantly our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so that one day when they get older they can choose for themselves. I look at my son who was kind enough to come with me today, and I can't help but think that I am responsible for his growth and his development. And I'm proud of that.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: Well, having said that, would you condone him smoking?
Nick Naylor: Well, of course not. He's not 18. That would be illegal.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: Yes, I've heard you deliver that line on 20/20, but enough dancing. What are you going to do when he turns 18? C'mon, Mr. Naylor. On his 18th birthday will you share a cigarette with him? Will you spend a lovely afternoon - like one of your ludicrous cigarette advertisements? You seem to have to have a lot to say about how we should raise our children. What of your own? What are you going to do when he turns 18?
Nick Naylor: If he really wants a cigarette. I'll buy him his first pack.
Joey Naylor: Dad, why is the American government the best government?
Nick Naylor: Because of our endless appeals system.
Nick Naylor: The man's a genius; he could disprove gravity.
Jack: [In Elevator] Did you hear that?
Nick Naylor: [pause] No.
Jack: Exactly.
Joey Naylor: Why did you tell that reporter all your secrets?
Nick Naylor: You're too young to understand.
Joey Naylor: Mom says it's because you have dependency issues and it was all just a matter of time before you threw it all away on some tramp.
Nick Naylor: Well, that's one theory.
Lorne Lutch: You look like a nice enough fella. What are you doing working for these assholes?
Nick Naylor: I'm good at it. Better at doing this than I ever was at doing anything else.
Lorne Lutch: Aw, hell, son. I was good at shooting VC. I didn't make it my career.
Nick Naylor: Bobby Jay works for S.A.F.E.T.Y., the Society for the Advancement of Firearms and Effective Training for Youth. After watching the footage of the Kent State shootings, Bobby Jay, then seventeen, signed up for the National Guard so that he too could shoot college students. But, the National Guard recruiter was out to lunch, so Bobby Jay ended up shooting Panamanians instead. Which is almost as fun as shooting college students, only they shoot back.
[Nick and Heather are introducing themselves to each other]
Heather Holloway: Heather Holloway.
Nick Naylor: Nick Naylor. Big Tobacco.
Heather Holloway: [holds up tape recorder] Is this kosher?
Nick Naylor: Only if I can call you Heather.
Heather Holloway: By all means. So, Mr. Naylor...
Nick Naylor: [interrupting] Nick.
Heather Holloway: Nick. Let's start with...
Nick Naylor: '82 Margaux.
Heather Holloway: Okay. Is it good?
Nick Naylor: "Good"? It'll make you believe in God.
Nick Naylor: You know the guy who can pick up any girl? I'm him. On crack.
Nick Naylor: Polly works for the Moderation Council. A casual drinker by the age of 14, Polly quickly developed a tolerance usually reserved for Irish dockworkers. In our world, she's the woman that got the pope to endorse red wine.
[last lines]
Nick Naylor: Gentlemen, practise these words in front of the mirror: Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer.
Nick Naylor: Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.
BR: [BR is reading Heather's damning article] Bitch.
Nick Naylor: Whore.
Jack: As you can see, Jeff just loves... Asian shit.
Joey Naylor: You're The Sultan of Spin!
Nick Naylor: "The Sultan of Spin"?
Joey Naylor: Mom subscribes to Newsweek.
Polly Bailey: How are you feeling?
Nick Naylor: First time I'm thinking these cigarettes are really dangerous
Bobby Jay Bliss: [Puts a gun on the table] you might be right about that, it might be small but it'll do the job, one shot BAM
Polly Bailey: He's not going to shoot anyone
Joey Naylor: Cool
Bobby Jay Bliss: Yeah? I mean guns should be treated with respect you understand?
Nick Naylor: You make a great father
Bobby Jay Bliss: Thanks
BR: Oh, I heard the Heather Holloway article is coming out tomorrow.
Nick Naylor: Really?
BR: Yeah, anything I should be worried about?
Nick Naylor: Yeah, the Cancer Association. Apparently they have it in for us.
BR: Fuckers.
Heather Holloway: This is Nick Naylor telling you kids, don't do drugs, smoke cigarettes
Nick Naylor: That's really great, its like looking in the mirror
Heather Holloway: New idea, cigarettes for the homeless, we'll call them hobos
Nick Naylor: Hahaha, uh that's awful
Heather Holloway: Any better than sector sixes
Nick Naylor: right
Heather Holloway: Oh my God Nick, you are on TV
Nick Naylor: Lobbyist on the lookout. You gotta be kidding me
Heather Holloway: I wanna fuck you while I watch you on TV
Nick Naylor: And they call me sick
Heather Holloway: Hurry before your segment ends
Nick Naylor: Alright
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: Please state your name, address, and current occupation.
Nick Naylor: My name is Nick Naylor. I live at 6000 Massachusetts Avenue. I am currently unemployed but until recently I was the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: Mr. Naylor, as Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, what was required of you? What did you do?
Nick Naylor: I informed the public of all the research performed in the investigation on the effects of tobacco.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: And what, so far, has the Academy concluded in their investigation into the effects of tobacco?
Nick Naylor: Well, many things actually. Why just the other day they uncovered evidence that smoking can offset Parkinson's disease.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: I'm sure the health community is thrilled. Mr. Naylor, who provides the financial background for the Academy of Tobacco Studies?
Nick Naylor: Conglomerated Tobacco.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: That's the cigarette companies.
Nick Naylor: For the most part, yes.
Senator Ortolan Finistirre: Do you think that might affect their priorities?
Nick Naylor: No. Just as, I'm sure, campaign contributions don't affect yours.
Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor is not hear to testify on the goings on of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. We're hear to examine the possibility of a warning label on cigarettes. Now, Mr. Naylor, I have to ask you out of formality, do you believe that smoking cigarettes, over time, can lead to lung cancer and lead to other respiratory conditions such as emphysema.
Nick Naylor: Yes. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who really believes that cigarettes are not potentially harmful. I mean - show of hands - Who out here thinks that cigarettes aren't dangerous?
Heather Holloway: My other interviews have pinned you as a mass murderer, blood sucker, pimp, profiteer and my personal favorite, yuppie Mephistopheles.
Joey Naylor: Dad, why is American government the best government?
Nick Naylor: Because of our endless appeal system.
Jack: Alright come here, this is my favourite part. That one right there...
[points in pool of fish]
Jack: It's 7000 dollars.
Nick Naylor: 7000 for a fish?
Jack: Yep, kinda makes you wanna stop eating sushi, but I guess you kinda have to.
Jack: See that big white one right there?
[points again]
Jack: Swear to you, 12000, gift from Oprah.
Bobby Jay Bliss: The way I heard it, D.C. police found you naked, laying in Lincoln's crotch, covered in nicotine patches with a sign across your chest that said...
Polly Bailey: He doesn't need to hear the details.
Bobby Jay Bliss: It was some pretty fucked up shit.
Polly Bailey: Shh!
Joey Naylor: Do I have flexible morals?
Nick Naylor: Let's say you became a lawyer and you were asked to defend a murderer worse than that, a child murderer now, the law states that every person deserves a fair trial, would you defend him?
Joey Naylor: I don't know, I guess every person deserves a fair defense
Nick Naylor: Yeah well so do multinational corporations
[first lines]
Joan Lunden: Robin Williger. He is a 15 year old freshman from Racine, Wisconsin. He enjoys studying history; he's on the debate team. Robin's future looked very, very bright. But recently he was diagnosed with cancer, a very tough kind of cancer. Robin tells me he has quit smoking, though, and he no longer thinks that cigarettes are "cool."
Nick Naylor: [Narrating a section of Heather's article] Nick Naylor lead spokesman for big tobacco will have you believe that cigarettes are harmless, but really he's doing it for the mortgage.
BR: This... environmentalist...
Subtitle: Pussy.
Joey Naylor: Why are you hiding from everyone?
Nick Naylor: It has something to do with being generally hated right now.
Joey Naylor: But it's your job to be generally hated.
Nick Naylor: It's more complicated then that, Joey.
Joey Naylor: You're just making it more complicated so that you can feel sorry for yourself. Like you always said, "If you want an easy job, go work for the Red Cross."
Nick Naylor: The message Hollywood needs to send out is 'Smoking Is Cool!'
Nurse: You woke up?
Nick Naylor: [off camera] Perhaps a bad choice of inflection.
Senator Lothridge: Now as we discussed earlier, these warning labels are not for those who know, but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
Nick Naylor: Gentleman. It's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. It comes from our teachers, and more importantly, our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world including cigarettes so that one day when they get older, they can choose for themselves.
Nick Naylor: Now what we need is a smoking role model. A real winner.
Jeff Megall: Indiana Jones meets Jerry Maguire.
Nick Naylor: Right, on two packs a day.
Jeff Megall: [Discussing a futuristic sci-fi movie] Brad Pitt Catherine Zeta-Jones they've just finished ravishing each other's body for the first time they lie naked suspended in air underneath the heavens Pitt lights up and starts blowing smoke rings around her naked flawless body as the galaxies go whizzing by other the glass dome ceiling, now tell me that doesn't work for you?
Nick Naylor: I'd see that movie
Jeff Megall: I'd buy the god damn DVD if the Academy didn't send them to for free, you guys ought to think about designing a cigarette to be released simultaneous with the movie
Nick Naylor: Sector Sixes
Jeff Megall: No one's ever done it with a cigarette
Nick Naylor: In 1910, the US was producing ten billion cigarettes a year, by 1930 we were up to one hundred twenty three billion, what ha ppened in between? Three things: a world war, dieting and movies
BR: Movies?
Nick Naylor: In, 1927 talking pictures are born and suddenly directors need to give their actors something to do while their talking, Cary Grant and Carole Lombard lighting up, Bette Davis a "chimney", and Bogart, remember the first picture with him and Lauren Bacall?
BR: Not specifically
Nick Naylor: She shimmies through the doorway nineteen years old, pure sex, she says "anyone got a match?" and Bogie throws the matches at her, she catches them, greatest romance in the century, how did it start? lighting a cigarette, we need the cast of Will & Grace smoking in their living room, Forrest Gump puffing away between his boxes of chocolates, Hugh Grant earning back the love of Julia Roberts by buying her favorite brand her Virginia Slims, most of the actors smoke already, when they start doing it onscreen, we can put the sex back into cigarettes
BR: Well, that's a thought I was hoping for something more inspiring but at least you're thinking the rest of you people slam your fucking brains into your desks until something useful comes out
[the Merchants of Death pass through a metal detector, which beeps as Bobby Jay, the firearms lobbyist, passes through]
Bobby Jay Bliss: [to Nick and Polly] You guys go on ahead, this might take a while.
Nick Naylor: Gentlemen, practice these words in front of the mirror: Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cell phone usage to brain cancer.
[after one of Naylor's speeches]
Trainee: That was awesome!
Nick Naylor: Thank you.
Jeff Megall: Oh, stop. Next thing I know, he'll be telling you what position I used to play for the Bruins.
Jack: Quarterback.
Nick Naylor: [Waking up from unconsciousness] What happened?
Doctor: No non-smoker could've ever withstood the amount of nicotine you had in your bloodstream, I hate to say it but cigarettes saved your life
Nick Naylor: Can I quote you on that doc?
Doctor: Before we get side tracked there is one thing
Nick Naylor: Alright don't get all dramatic on me
Doctor: You can't smoke
Nick Naylor: That's no problem, I've done it before, and I did during the pregnancy, how long do you think?
Doctor: I don't think you understand it's a miracle you came out of this alive, any smoking, one cigarette can put you right back into a paralytic state, your body just can't handle it
Jack: That sand's not gonna rake itself, Hiroshi.
Nick Naylor: Most people have this image in their heads of tobacco executives jet-setting around the world on private planes, eating foie gras as they count their money. Not me. I like to ride with the people. Know your clients. My people cram themselves into a tiny seat, pop a Xanex, and dream of the moment when they can stuff their face with fresh tobacco. If I can convince just one of these kids to pick up smoking, I've paid for my flight. Round trip!

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