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Thoughts on "Tropic Thunder" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, September 08, 2008

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee. This would be a fine choice for a comedic afternoon, although you might be able to justify full price if the thought of laughing with a full theater is a must for you to enjoy this type of film.

Will I Own It On DVD: Probably. I will likely buy this one when it drops in price to around $10.00.

1) "Tropic Thunder" is both broad and ruthless, Hollywood-skewering and action-oriented and consistently funny throughout the running time. The main group of Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. was inspired casting, and the filmmakers also filled the smaller roles extremely well as Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan and somewhat surprisingly Matthew McCaughney turn in stellar performances to guide this project along as it balances itself between comedy and over-the-top action sequences.

2) Stiller is hit and miss with me as I found him to be pretty damn funny in projects like "Dodgeball," "Zoolander" and "There's Something About Mary" yet wanted absolutely nothing to do with crap like "Meeting the Fockers" and "Along Came Polly." Stiller comes through with 'Thunder' from both a directing and acting perspective as this film has an edge unlike a lot of his projects the past few years.

3) There might be no other actor in Hollywood who could have pulled off the role of the African-American sergeant that Downey Jr. plays in 'Thunder.' It is a hilarious and ballsy go-for-broke acting job that could have been so offensively awful in other hands that it just re-enforces how good Downey Jr. can be in a variety of roles.

4) As good as everyone in the cast performs, Tom Cruise absolutely is the funniest thing about 'Tropic Thunder' as he gives a tour-de-force comic performance underneath a bald wig and fat suit to inhabit the role of a hairy, foul-mouthed studio executive with a penchant for dancing to hip hop music. Quite simply, Cruise hasn't been this good or magnetic since his role in "Magnolia" - another supporting turn - and it makes me think he should watch for interesting roles like this one because his leading man choices have been largely suspect for awhile.

5) All in all, "Tropic Thunder" was a frequently funny movie that wasn't quite as hilarious as I anticipated. That is mainly due to enlarged expectations on my part, and if you are looking for laughs at the end of a long summer, then go see this film as it will bring the Thunder. Ouch.



  1. JLee Says:
  2. That sucks when you build up a movie before seeing it, then expect more than it delivers. I am still amazed at RDJs performance and Tom Cruise was hysterical, although I feel they beat you over the head with the joke a little bit by dragging it out. Less is more sometimes. ha

  3. Heff Says:
  4. That settles it. I've got to see this one.

  5. Jlee - I agree about the build-up as you will almost always be let down in that scenario. But I did still enjoy this one. As for Cruise, I thought they could have cancelled that last dance session at the end of the movie too (but damn he was funny, eh?)

    Heff - I think you'll enjoy it if you keep expectations in check. It has some laughs.

  6. Any movie that can explain why going "full retard" is bad for a movie career gets my vote for Best Comedy of the summer. I went in knowing very little about it and agree that watching with an audience makes it better. Which BTW, was 90% male.

    And Tom Cruise? It's the first time in a long time that I've seen his talent and I give him credit for going "full asshole".

    My new favorate line? "A dickless monkey could do your job." Bwahahahahah.

    I'd say it's great casting made this movie above average.

  7. I saw this last week - for matinee price. Totally worth it. It might not have lived up to expectations, but it was still the funniest movie I've seen in a while (although, I haven't seen Pineapple Express yet, so that could change). I'm just upset that more of my friends haven't seen it because I always want to break out the one liners, but can't because I don't want to spoil anything. My favorite line: "I'm a lead farmer, motherfucker."

  8. Anonymous Boxer - I was mad at myself for not including the full retrard Downey Jr. explanation in my review. I would love to see the next time he runs into Sean Penn at an event. Ha. I also agree about the casting and that dickless monkey line was one of so many great ones in Cruise's performance. Good stuff indeed.

    Native Minnow - I hate when people haven't seen something like that yet, and you're itching to pull them out yet you have to hold back. So many great lines that I forgot about that one, which is awesome as well. Thanks.

  9. Miss Ash Says:
  10. I liked it...which is surprising because the word "retard" makes me cringe and I lecture people when they use it awwww! But I got my sense of humour back and I laughed and laughed.

  11. Linda Says:
  12. I'm learning that the less I know about a film going in, the more I enjoy it. After I see it I devour everything I can read, and pity the poor person who admits to seeing the film, cuz I'll want to '"discuss". Oh that RDJ ..... Fun film.

  13. Miss Ash - You almost have to laugh because I'm sure they knew what a hot-button word that is and they just went for it knowing full well that you can't use it anymore. And Downey's 'full retard' speech was hilarious.

    Linda - I completely agree about the less you know theory, and that's why I try to avoid reviews until I've already seen a film (unless I'm very on the fence about going). As for 'Thunder,' it was a fun film and I'm glad it's doing well.

  14. Gypsy Says:
  15. Well I will go and see if for no other reason than I love RDJ and I am having a hard time imagining Tom Cruise being THAT funny. The last time I saw him in anything was when he was jumping on Oprah's couch and making a complete twat of himself. It was so embarrassing I am only just healing from the scars that "performance" left.

    However I am perfectly happy to take everyone here's word for it and will take a risk that he doesn't damage my psyche any further.

  16. Gypsy - I agree about Cruise as he has been in a monster tailspin since that incident on Oprah. But this time, he's excellent. Trust me. And Downey Jr. is always good, so hopefully you can stay away if you see it in the theater. ha.


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