I never thought that I’d ever recommend any comedy film maker to take advice from Ben Stiller but I have to here; (Scary, Date, Epic, Disaster) Movie guys, THIS is how you make a parody. Tropic Thunder makes fun of basically all of
Hollywood with the many actors it has brought together to make this film. Leading the group is Ben Stiller who plays Tugg Speedman, an actor famous as “The Action Guy” who kicks ass and shouts out worse ice puns than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jack Black plays Jeff Portnoy who is the comedian, and makes fun of Eddie Murphy comedies with his previous movie “The Fatties” where he plays the entire cast. Brandon T. Jackson plays Alpa Chino, a rapper who sells energy drinks called Bouty Sweat that he advertises throughout the film. Jay Baruchel plays Kevin Sandusky who is a newcomer that no one really knows or cares about. And of course there is Robert Downey Jr. who plays the immortal Kirk Lazarus, the five time academy award winner who went through surgery to play the African American role in the film.
Since I first heard the premise I thought it sounded interesting, and like many others I watched Iron Man and found out that Downey Jr was going to be in Tropic Thunder and I was hooked from that point on. The film is about these five different actors who have come together to make the greatest war film of all time. However they never seem to be able to act right together and so many things end up going wrong in the process of filming that the director (Steve Coogan) nearly loses his mind. He goes back to his cabin where the consultant for the movie, the actual war hero that Ben Stiller is portraying (Nick Nolte), tells him to put the actors in the actual jungle so he can get the real action. Steve Coogan in his crazy state agrees, especially after the pressure put on him by the studio director… and if you’ve seen the movie you know why those three dots are there after studio director, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.
Right off the start this movie had me laughing a bit, whether it was Ben Stiller’s “Platoon” death, or Matthew McConaughey playing Stiller’s agent who is pissed off that his client didn’t get the Tivo that he was promised, it was all good. However, what made this movie start off great were the four little clips at the beginning, at first I thought they were real trailers but they were showing the four main actors in the natural habitat. Stiller playing the same action character in Scorcher I-VI, Downey playing a gay priest, Black playing the Fatties, and
Jackson advertising Bouty Sweat. The entire set up towards the actual jungle scenes all had me smiling and laughing for the most part, then once they actually got sent into the action the movie really began.
As soon as the helicopter drops the actors off Ben Stiller takes charge as they are ambushed by what they think are actors but are really drug smugglers who see them as American Soldiers. The only one who questions whether what is going on is really fake at first is Robert Downey Jr’s character but Stiller refuses to listen. Stiller’s character is always competing against Lazarus and trying to prove that he can act better than he can. He is making this movie because his career depends on him getting an Oscar since his previous movie Simple Jack about a mentally handicapped farm hand did absolutely horrible, and while I felt that this movie took the Simple Jack joke a bit too far, I found Downey’s rant over actors playing fully or partly retarded parts to be one of the finest moments in the film.In all actuality it should come as no surprise that Downey is the best part of this film. He makes me laugh almost every time he’s on screen and I’ve found myself quoting several lines of his from this movie
When Stiller leaves the group because everyone else has realized that they are actually in the real thing, he is kidnapped and taken away by the smugglers. Then the other four go to save him in an overblown action sequence that was originally actually planned by the director of the movie because it was in the script.
The storyline begins to wear thin over the two hour runtime but overall the movie had me laughing as much as I had wanted to. I had no expectations of a masterpiece and what I got was a parody movie that is right up there with Airplane for me… not above Airplane, just up there. The performances were all great, and I now come to the cameo that everyone’s been raving about; Tom Cruise. I didn’t like it that much. I laughed at his dancing scenes, but his actual character who would curse up a storm each time he talked was what I didn’t like. It just seemed like he was trying too hard. In all honesty, and it kind of pains me to say this, I liked McConaughey’s cameo more. Still the movie made me laugh, and while it was stupid at times it hardly ever stopped being funny and I easily rate it as one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen this year. 4/5.