Written by Ben Stiller & Justin Theroux
and Etan Cohen
Directed by Ben Stiller
Running Time: 1:47
for pervasive language including
sexual references, violent content
and drug material.
Tropic Thunder was a non-stop action comedy with two extremely amazing performances.
Three young hot shot actors who are popular in different fields, come together to make a big budget war film. There's Tugg Speedman, the action star, Kirk Lazarus the Oscar winning Method actor and Jeff Portnoy the comedy superstar. Under the leadership of a first-time director, the three find themselves thrown into the wilderness, shooting a film guerilla style. Only what they don't realize is that they're no longer filming a movie - everything has become very real. They must learn to harness their talents and trust one another to save themselves from death at the hands of a very small drug kingpin.
Tropic Thunder definitely had more action than I thought it would, but also a lot of comedy. And what I liked best is, it never slowed down. There was no love story thrown in, no long pointless monologues, nothing that would slow the pace down. Every scene was important, every line delivered as it should have been. There were times where the humor would fall a little flat, but at least they tried. The movie starts off literally immediately with the humor. We get to see a fake commercial for a soda called Booty Sweat followed by three of the funniest fake trailers you will ever see. It's almost a shame they were so funny because it was really hard for any one scene in the actual movie to live up to the trailers. What's amazing about them is that they were spot-on perfect parodies of real trailers and it wouldn't surprise me if one or two of them get made into real films, especially the one with Jack Black.
Many people thought that a movie that skewers the movie industry might be a bit too inside for the casual movie fan, and while some may not get the inside jokes, the movie was broad enough to be funny on its own. The plot was very simple so there wasn't a lot to think about and instead Stiller could focus on the jokes. He did a nice job of making sure everyone was treated equally, and not centering the movie on his own character. And through that he got two standout performances.
First there was Robert Downey Jr. who played a "dude playing a dude disguised as another dude." It was a performance that bordered on the edge of being completely racist but in his extremely capable hands, it was downright hilarious. There were times where I had absolutely no idea what he was saying but he was so into character that it made me laugh. And when he finally had to break character, he went right into a perfect Australian accent without hesitation. I wonder if Downey hadn't gotten such good will from Iron Man whether people would have accepted this performance as eagerly as they had. There's no doubt it was a great job. But that leads me to the real standout role in the film, which may be a spoiler to many so skip the next paragraph if you don't want to hear about it.
Were the role of Les Grossman, a foul-mouthed movie mogul, done by an unknown actor, it would be considered a major breakout moment. But in the hands of Hollywood veteran Tom Cruise, it becomes what will hopefully be a redemption role. Cruise isn't mentioned in any of the ads and his character was hidden in secrecy during production. But in the movie he is absolutely hysterical. It's a role unlike any he's played before. He's fat and balding and he curses almost non-stop. He's rude and vile and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever about him. Oh, and he dances. There is one scene with Cruise that was so downright funny that the audience actually started applauding. When was the last time that happened in a comedy, halfway through a movie? Cruise gets completely lost in his role and proves that he can easily do comedy, and I hope that rumored movie with him and Stiller as the Hardy Boys (all grown up) comes true. While his role wasn't big, Cruise stole the movie every time he was on screen.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed Tropic Thunder. The actors were all dead-on in their skewering of Hollywood and a big budget production and the story was simple so the actors could have all the fun. Definitely worth seeing.
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