I never really thought I'd say a Ben Stiller comedy was genuinely smart and funny, but here I am, saying just that.
I never really thought I'd say a Ben Stiller comedy was genuinely smart and funny, but here I am, saying just that. It's partly the talented cast and partly Stiller's collaborator on the film, Justin Theroux, but whatever the cause, Tropic Thunder is a hilarious movie that doesn't completely rely on gross-out humor or cheap shots for laughs. The entire thing exists to comment on the hypocrisy, egotism, delusional sense of self-importance and backward moral codes of the people who keep the Hollywood machine churning. And it's all set against the backdrop of one of the most serious film genres: the war movie.
Stiller plays Tugg Speedman, a has-been action star who hopes that the filming of the war movie Tropic Thunder will restart his fading career. Soon, however, the film's director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) decides to drop the film's stars into the middle of the jungle to get some "grittier" footage. The group of actors includes the Australian Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an Academy darling who has surgically changed his skin color to play a black character, an actual black actor named Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), newbie actor Kevin Sandusky (the beloved Apatownian Jay Baruchel) and goofball comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black). The men find themselves in a real combat situation, and it takes them a while to realize that they're not actually on a controlled movie set. The whole thing is a series of jokes, explosions and gunfire, resulting in a kind of giant comedic spectacle. Those are just the basics, though, so read more