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Tropic Thunder Review: Should you run from this storm?

What do you get when you mix three big leading actors, some great background actors and a war set in Indonesia? Well Ben Stiller is hoping for a good, comedic romp. But does it fall short with the laughs or is it loaded and locked with them?


Plot: To scare primadonna actors into shape, a director takes actors into the wild to shoot a movie. Also, laughs.

Courtesy of moi.

My Review: I was thrown through a loop at the beginning of this film. It starts off with trailers and since there was no "be quiet in the theater" clips before the movie, I didn't think we were in the movie yet. I honestly thought a commercial for "Booty Sweat" was a real item. Of course then you see the first trailer green screen in the movie and it all makes sense. Not only that, but it starts the funny train that just doesn't quit.

Let this be known now, all the funny parts are not in the trailers. There is plenty of stuff to laugh at hidden in this film. From the shock gore to the dialogue to the sheer craziness, I was pleasantly surprised. It was nice to see a good comedy in awhile.

There's apparently some controversy surrounding this movie. First there was the "black face." I actually have a co-worker who isn't sure about this movie because of this fact, but I will say this, there were black people in the theater and they enjoyed the sheer awesomeness that is Robert Downey Jr. It wasn't until I heard something about the second controversy that it shed a new light on the film.

The second issue with the film is with Ben Stiller's character's "Simple Jack." In the movie, acclaimed action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller) wanted an Oscar. To achieve this he played a "mentally challenged" individual. Of course they don't use the PC term and instead call him "retard." There's a scene where they go into great detail with this word and this has caused alarms with one of the sensitive groups out there. But Ben Stiller issued a statement that stood out. It is saying on how far an actor will go to "chase" an Oscar. They even go as far as mentioning actors in the movie and the performances. I feel this could be applied to the black face as well. I mean did you see how far Christian Bale went to do The Machinist? Now that is just ridiculous!

Speaking of acting, you got a bunch of big named actors in a film and it really paid off. The only one I wasn't familiar with was "Alpa Chino," aka Brandon T. Jackson. The rest of main cast you know; the comedic Jack Black doing his hilarity, RDJ with his sweet performance of him playing a dude playing a dude playing a dude disguised as a dude (his mumbling stereotype was laughable, even though a few times it might be hard to hear what he says), and Ben Stiller did his usual "I'm crazy and right, I do what I want" attitude. Holy-incredibly-long-sentence Batman!

But the two people that stood out to me were Jay Baruchel and Danny R. McBride. Baruchel plays the other soldier who isn't a basket case and holds the group together. You might remember him from Undeclared or Knocked Up. And lastly McBride might be familiar to you if you had the unfortunate chance to see Pineapple Express; great performance, just not a good movie. Well he continues it over in this film. It might not be as memorable, but I feel he is a new actor to watch out for. Let's just hope he doesn't go the path of Will Ferrell. Also, Nick Nolte.

Now some of you might not be a big advocate of gore. But you need not worry about that. Ever since I saw the first red band trailer, I was expecting gore galore but it really only seems to be present in the beginning of the film. At one point in the movie, it seems like a switch was flipped and all of it just went away. This isn't a bad thing, I was expecting more. Even though I was expecting more, I wasn't let down.

As I said before, the funny parts are not limited to the trailer. Actually there are some surprise performances that come out of left field. I think my jaw dropped a little when I saw one of them. It almost felt like an easter egg in a game, except it kept coming back and rewarded you tenfold. One particular egg, I would bet that it stole the show. Possibly MAJOR SPOILER: Tom Cruise has a role in this film as a big time movie mogul/producer. He wears a suit to make him look bigger, bad beard, and balding. His performace was just great. I laughed so hard at his parts. And then at the ending...like at the credits/before the credits, what he does is just AMAZING! Sheer brillance! It may not seem like much but it was a big highlight of the film.

Part of the reason the funnies expand beyond the trailer might be from "shock value" as someone told me. I wouldn't necessarily say that is untrue nor true. There are some pretty shocking moments but there are also some vulgar jokes that just can't be shown on TV. It is rated R for a reason. Some of it was shocking, some of it was not. Regardless, I laughed long and hard.

I guess if I need to nitpick this film to offer some bad points...it appears that the black face kind of disappears at the end? They touted it as a surgery situation, so it wouldn't be easy for it to go away but it did? Well at least it looked like it did. And as I mentioned it is hard to understand some of RDJ's mumblings, but that isn't too bad. I just can't really find fault with this movie.

PS: Scorched VI is amazing!

Conclusion: There are two possible reasons for my feelings on Tropic Thunder. The first could be coming from a recent low of a terrible movie called Pineapple Express. It could be that any movie I saw after that would look like gold. The other reason is that this was simply one of the best movies I have seen (at least in a while). I hate to say that cause I am afraid I will over hype it and make it a let down for some of you. All I know was that it was fun, entertaining, full of GOOD laughs, and that I am almost tempted to go see it again this weekend. Just can't get enough of that -spoiler deleted-, hilarious!

I loved this film, you should too!

My Rating: 9.5 - Hilarious, just AMAZING! I might even see it again.

I might've actually given this a 5 Star rating but I don't have the image for it, but it deserves at least a 4 or 4 1/2.
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About BlindsideDorkone of us since 11:46 AM on 11.10.2006

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