Got the chance to see “Tropic Thunder” this weekend with some friends, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I did have a fear that the few scenes from all the trailers would be the only funny ones in the movie, but that was far from the case.
To be honest, I haven’t been impressed with Ben Stiller lately. He’s been very mediocre in his movies (mainly because they just aren’t the best scripts). But he most definitely delivers here. Maybe Robert Downey, Jr. helped him out…
And speaking of Downey, HOLY CRAP! He was friggin’ brilliant here! Of course, he’s great in everything, but lately he’s just been hitting them out of the park right and left. And, as he himself says, he’s “the dude playin’ a dude disguised as another dude.” Hilarious!
The whole dig on the Hollywood system is wonderful (and sadly true in a lot of ways). It really makes this seemingly ridiculous premise work. From the moment you see the fake trailers created to introduce you to the actors within the movie, along with Alpa Chino’s (Oh God… that doesn’t stop being funny) “Booty Sweat” energy drink ad; all the way to the end credits, this movie is just hilarious.
However, the primary stars of this movie are almost overshadowed by a brilliant cameo from… of all people… TOM CRUISE?
Yes. That’s right. He is pure hilarity as the stereotypical angry producer taken to probably less of an extreme than you think (a little Harvey Weinstein in there I think). Think Jeremy Pivens in “Entourage” with absolute power over a production.
Frightening yes, but absolute comedy gold.
And his dance during the credits! That’s absolute genius.
I can honestly say that this movie made me laugh out loud more than most comedies I’ve been to in the last few years. The characters were all extremely entertaining with all their unfortunate quirks.
Oh, and Steve Coogan is amazing as the “first-time director” who gets bullied by the cast until Nick Nolte as the vet (and writer of the book the war movie is based on) convinces him to take them “into the shit”.
Whoever thought to add the homages to other great war movies like “Apocalypse Now” and “Platoon”, good call. They were just perfect.
And, I know there has been some protest about Ben Stiller’s portrayal of a mentally handicapped man (one of the movies within the movie called “Simple Jack”) and the use of the word “retard” throughout the movie. The thing is, it’s used to parody the way Hollywood looks at the mentally handicapped in the movies it makes. It is not meant as an insult, and should not be taken as any kind of slight against people with any mental disability.
I’m trying to write this without many spoilers, because I think everyone should go see this movie for themselves. It’s that good.
So, do yourself a favor and check out “Tropic Thunder” when you have a chance. I think you’ll be glad you did.
EDIT on 09/01/08:
Just got back from seeing “Tropic Thunder” for the second time, and it is just as awesome.
A few things I didn’t mention above, but I wasn’t going to rewrite the first review, so here’s a postscript.
First, this is not just a straight up comedy. This is one of the best ACTION-comedies that has been put together in a long time. The absolute absurdity of this movie is what makes it so good. I’m going to be quoting it for a while to come, that’s for sure.
I’m going to stop now, because there is too much to talk about in this movie. The review will never be enough to explain all the awesome it contains.
William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who laughed out loud more than he has in a long time