Tropic Thunder

2008-09-05 17:09
 
What it's about:

Tropic Thunder is a Hollywood war movie that is running over budget and experiencing cast and crew problems. At the heart of the chaos is the spoiled, pampered cast – Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), a fading action star, Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), a white Australian method actor playing a black character, and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), a flatulent comedian with a heroin problem. Through a miscalculated attempt to inject some urgency and realism into the film, they get dumped in the Vietnam jungle, forced to fend for themselves amidst mercenaries and drug runners.

What we thought of it:

Ben Stiller is back! It’s been a long time since he’s starred in anything as gut-bustingly funny as Zoolander (2001) and it seemed he was in danger of fading into a chuckle-free middle age. Tropic Thunder should successfully push him back to the top of the comedy pack, both as a performer and a director.

The premise of Tropic Thunder is a bit farcical – a star laden big budget blockbuster that is meant to satirise star laden blockbusters, but it works surprisingly well. The writing is sharp, the jokes are frequent, and every big name involved seems happy to play against their stereotypes and look utterly ridiculous.

Although every character has their fair share of jokes, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise steal the show. The character of Kirk Lazarus has to be one of the most inspired comic creations of the past few years – a white Australian playing a black American man. He never lets the character drop either, and there are lots of belly laughs to be had from the friction between him and the justifiably offended Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), a black rapper trying to cross into acting.

Tom Cruise shows the world he has a sense of humour by playing the physically repulsive Les Grossman – a bald, hairy, chubby studio exec with a god complex and anger management issues. Whether he is belittling one of his unfortunate lackeys or doing one of his frequent, grotesque victory dances, he epitomises everything vulgar and crass behind the glamour of the film industry.

There has been some controversy over the film’s use of the word "retard", with various American groups protesting outside cinemas and so on. It relates specifically to a character called Simple Jack, played by Tugg Speedman (Stiller), which is a very accurate deflating of so-called serious movies about the mentally disabled, like Forrest Gump (1994). This character is comedy gold, smartly written as well – and, of course, there are guilty laughs aplenty, although there is no malice intended. Only a person totally devoid of a sense of humour would be offended.

Tropic Thunder occasionally lapses into silliness, but there is enough manic energy there to keep it moving forward. For this type of comedy, it’s amazingly well made and well written, and the quality is noticeable from the first frames. Some people might find some of the more low-brow jokes a bit crass, but everyone else should love this. If you are a fan of Ben Stiller, or American comedy, you simply have to see this.

- Ivan Sadler

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Everything goes wrong during the making of a big budget war movie and the actors end up becoming the commandos they are playing.

postit 2008/09/03 2:13 PM
thank you your review makes we want to go watch the movie.. cant wait. ta
Reed 2008/09/04 11:54 AM
Sounds hilarious! I can't wait to check this movie out. the cast looks great. and Robert downey jr. is funny in everything he does.
YTAH 2008/09/12 11:10 AM
Make sure you arrive early... as the fake trailers before the movie are bloody hilarious.
grant aubin 2008/09/15 9:03 AM
TROPIC THUNDER WRITER-director-actor Ben Stiller's rip-roaring new Hollywood satire is easily the funniest film of the year so far. Featuring splendid performances by Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Brandon T. Jackson (as Alpa Chino), Danny McBride, Steve Coogan (as loony director Damien Cockburn) and a deliciously grizzled Nick Nolte, the movie absolutely crackles with subversive wit and gloriously tasteless humour. Forget political correctness; nothing's sacred as Stiller takes on overpaid, egotistical actors, bloated war blockbusters, vile, greedy producers and stars who hope to win Oscar by playing "retards". It opens with hilarious fake trailers to introduce the stars of the film-within-a-film. There's Tug Speedman (Stiller) in "Scorcher V1", Jeff Portnow (Black) in "The Fatties" (they fart a lot) and Aussie method actor Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr.), whose latest flick - a sort of Brokeback Monastry - finds him playing a Middle Ages monk having lustful thoughts about To
Zk 2008/09/22 11:46 AM
TERRIBLE I went to see the movie, what a waste of my money. The only thing that I enjoyed is Tom Cruise' character, but sadly its just a cameo role. I would easily give it a 1 rating, definately the worst movie I've seen this year.
Claudia Blight 2008/09/22 11:51 AM
DON'T WATCH THIS LOAD OF RUBBISH. Seriously, have American's run of things to make movies about? This is a very bad movie, don't watch it. I generally like Ben Stiller and can even contend with slap-stick humor, but this was just so stupid.
Ice 2008/09/22 3:26 PM
Crap i was so dissapointed in the film especially after i read that it ousted Batman for the first weekend it was released in the US. I guess only the Americans can laught for such rubbish, Faith like patotoes was funnier than this movie, serious dont waste your money to go watch it...
THE BOSS 2008/09/23 8:35 AM
ONCE AGAIN POOR REVIEW!!-SIMPLY DONT WASTE YOUR TIME SAW THIS MOVIE AND WANTED TO THROW UP.READ THE REVIEW AND WANTED TO THROW UP EVEN MORE. THIS REVEIWER REALLY NEEDS TO BE TRAINED IN THE ART OF PROPERLY REVIEWING A MOVIE ON A GENERAL SCALE FOR EVERYONE AND JUST NOT ON A SELFISH PERSONAL SCALE. "WHAT WE THOUGHT OF IT" NO IVAN, WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF IT AND WHO CARES !!!
Ivan 2008/09/23 12:21 PM
ignore the idiots To everyone with a functioning brain - ignore the comments by semi-literate schoolkids like THE BOSS. This is one of the funniest comedies to arrive in years.
YTAH 2008/09/26 8:42 AM
LOL The Boss is obviously unemployed and angling for your job, Mr Sadler. Genius review of a genius movie.
Julie 2008/09/29 12:28 PM
Great! I am not one for slap-stick comedy but needed to get my mind off a couple of things, so off we went to the movies. Was a bit hesitant to watch this but MAN OH MAN was I pleasantly surprised! I LOVED IT. Laughed myself silly and walked out feeling great. Will add it to my DVD collection.
Kim 2008/09/30 12:16 PM
Why the 16LV?? Can someone please explain why this movie is rated 16LV as this really does not seem like the kind of movie for it....I wanted to take my 10 year old to see it as she has a wicked sense of humour but now I can't - what is the age restriction for????
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