Sunday, July 27, 2008

Early review of "Tropic Thunder"

This makes me happy:

hey guys -

Just got back from an early Paramount screening of “Tropic Thunder” in Santa Monica, and while the theater experience there was highly unfortunate (the sound was horrible, and even dropped out completely during the last action-packed act, TWICE) - I’m happy to report that Ben Stiller has hit this one out of the park. Tropic Thunder is both completely F’ed up and hilarious.

For those of you that don’t already know the plot - Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black play three hollywood actors: Stiller is the action hero, Downey Jr. is the oscar winner, and Black is the crude comedy actor. They’re shooting a fact based war film which goes well over budget. The director (Steve Coogan) under the gun to fix the failing film - takes his actors to “the shit” - dropping them in an actual jungle and telling them that they’ll be filmed with hidden cameras. Problem is that they’ve been dropped in the middle of an
actual drug war zone.

While the concept is completely ridiculous (and impossible) - the laughs are hard to resist and I laughed a lot. While there are a few stumbles here and there as a few minor scenes lag - Overall the parts of the film that work completely outweigh the parts that don’t. I don’t wanna spoil all of the good gags - so I won’t get too deep into Spoiler territory - but just to be safe, for those of you who want to go in completely fresh, I suggest you stop reading right now.


Last warning… cause here I go - SPOILER ALERT - Well I’m not sure how much of a spoiler it really is, being that his appearance has been reported on just about every news and gossip site around - but Tom Cruise is in this - a lot - and he’s freaking hysterical. He gives a comedic Magnolia-like performance that will undoubtedly bring back his movie star cred from audiences. He’s really funny, and shows up quite a few times. It made me completely forget all about his odd couch-jumping, Xenu hailing ways. Hate him all you want - you cannot deny why this guy was - and will continue to be - a massive movie star.

There are quite a few more hilarious celebrity cameos, and a GENIUS opening of fake previews before the movie starts that play like big budget sketches from the brilliant and completely underrated Ben Stiller Show. The other bright shining light is Robert Downey Jr. as a white Russell Crowe like actor, who undergoes surgery to play the movie’s black platoon leader. It’s really, really funny.

Without a doubt, the most under-used actor in the film is Jack Black - which if you hate him is probably a good thing. I am a fan myself, and while he manages to still have some priceless moments including his hilarious trailer for his Nutty Professor like film called “The Fatties: Fart 2″, where he plays all five fat members of the family in the film, Eddie Murphy style, he sadly spends the bulk of the film stuck in a boring drug addiction withdrawal plot. They could have written a more creative character arc for him.

But overall, the film is a lot of fun. It’s also a pretty hard R with lots of blood, gore, action and language. So I say run, not walk when Tropic Thunder opens August 13th.


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