Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tropic Thunder Review

I'll keep this one very short and sweet: Tropic Thunder is a great flick to kill an afternoon. Not a huge blockbuster, but fun and certainly one of the funniest films released this summer.

Tropic Thunder is a film following the filming of a Vietnam War flick of the same name, starring Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), and Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), but of course, all of these actors have problems and attitude. Speedman is a washed up action star who's lost his personal identity, Portnoy is a coke addict traditionally cast in fart-movies, and Lazarus is the obsesive actor who not only gets into character for a role, but he truly becomes that character for the duration of his shoots.

Now, can I just take a moment to give away a minor spoiler here. If you don't want to read this, skip ahead to the next paragraph. The movie actually starts with several false "previews" detailing these "stars" past works, and in my opinion they're the funniest moments of the film. Seriously, I would pay to see Satan's Alley; an absolute laugh riot simply because it's so wrong.

During filming of Tropic Thunder, it becomes apparent that there's chemistry problems with the actors, with their relations to one another and the crew, so much so that Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) threatens to pull the plug. To save the film, Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) and Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte), the writer of the novel the film is based on, put in motion a plan to dump the actors in the middle of a real hostile jungle to capture the reality of war.

Of course everything goes to hell, and Speedman finds himself leading his "unit" of actors in real fire fights against real hostiles, but of course he thinks it's all just part of the script. And naturally, what makes the film so enjoyable is these spoiled actors adapting and trying to survive this situation that may or may not be real. The characters all play well off one another, fitting the stereotypical roles of stuck-up Hollywood talent.

And in a nutshell, that's it. Tropic Thunder has it's pure laugh moments, be they sutle or outright in your face. I must say I actually enjoyed Tom Cruise's performance for once, even though he still scares me, and all those people flipping out over the use of the term "retard" really need to lighten up.

So in a summer where very few films have stood out, Tropic Thunder provides some solid entertainment to be worth your buck.

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