October 26, 2008

REVIEW: Tropic Thunder

What would you do if you were a huge fat balding Hollywood producer with a film that's outrageously expensive, behind schedule AND has one of the concerned film's actors kidnapped for ransom?

You call insurance, tell the terorrists to go f**k themselves and proceed to dance to the beat of Flo Rida's 'Low'.

Yup, just a sampling of Tropic Thunder's biting satire on Hollywood. Ironically, this fake-real-war-story-that-became-a-blockbuster-in-the-story-of-this-blockbuster-that-talks-about-Hollywood-in-real-life-to-audiences-in-real-life is also made and conceived by Hollywood star Ben Stiller (with Justin Thoreaux), and to be honest, it's actually funny even if it's extremely crass and crude.

Now, this movie is set in Vietnam where actors- Alpa Chino, failing action star Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Academy-award winner Australian Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) who delves so much into his own character that he underwent skin recoloration surgery to play an African-American, and lowbrow comedian Jeff (Jack Black) who's also addicted to heroin- are dropped into a real war zone after the director of the very late, very expensive war movie got tired of handling the prima donnas. The actors don't know about it, so they're in deep shit.

First of all, I'd like to give abundant praise to Robert Downey Jr. in his unforgettable role as "a dude playing a dude who's disguised as another dude". He's got the stereotype down pat for both African-American and Australian which results in him matching his character extremely well and being very funny in the process. In short, his acting is just top-notch.

Don't get me wrong, the other actors play their roles well, but Downey is just, damn. You seriously gotta see one of his latter scenes where he's so damn cool.

Well, anyway, this action-packed guerilla movie doesn't skimp on the explosive action either because the thing's full of it. Of course, much of it is used for comedic effect. So are the awkward silences of which there are many. I just can't resist chuckling every time there seems to be some kind of awkward silence because these people are pretty much hard to take seriously, especially Downey and his accent.

Direction is also nice. I mean, this thing could've ended up as crap anytime were the wrong men employed, but with Ben Stiller helming the film himself, it's hard to find fault, really. He squeezes some excellent performances from the cast, and he manages to put this comedy beyond stupid summer fare.

Still, some jokes in the movie fall flat. One part where Jack Black's character is tied to a tree and talks about explicitly graphic sexual content, there's just that feeling of disgust- much like in movies like Meet the Spartans.

The experience is humorous but not for everyone. If you don't like toilet humor, there's a chance that you'll hate this. But if you just want to see Tom Cruise dance and Robert Downey Jr. deliver the goods, you'll be left more than satisfied- with a few laughs as a bonus.

RATING: 8/10

Posted with LifeCast

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