Starts with a mix of celebs and history but quickly dumbs down into a sitcom and celeb driven "documentary"
It was the day of the smoking ban in the UK when channel four screened this light-documentary looking at the shift in society that saw smoking go from being fun for all the family to being socially unacceptable. On one hand the film is a "proper" documentary that starts out as an interesting, albeit superficial look back at how smoking was sold via marketing and also via mass media in the form of cinema but in the second half it seems to spend a lot of time showing clips from British sitcoms.
Throughout the film we have contributions from various celebrities who are smokers, ex-smokers or who have never smoked. The collection of opinions is edited together really well to actually make for an interesting flow even if you never think that you are listening to anyone other than celebs! Although this works well it does have the side effect of exposing the lightness of the section that focuses on sitcoms etc. In the first half of the film the historical interest worked well as a strong base to build the celebs around; without that in the second half it does feel like you're watching "The 50 Greatest Smoking Moments in British Sitcoms Ever" (it being on Channel 4 doesn't help with that feeling either!).
So although it starts out with the mix just right, it loses it by the halfway point and ends up amounting to very little. Being topical on the day of screening will have bought it viewers but I would hazard a guess that it will not be repeated anytime soon because, without the smoking ban as the hook, there isn't really much to make this worth seeing.
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