“Tropic Thunder” Roar of Laughter

Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Release Date: August 13th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
Distributors: DreamWorks SKG

Directed by: Ben Stiller
JJ Rating: A

When actors for a movie are placed in the jungle to get a real feel that the director wanted, the actors get a real taste of what it was they were acting. Tropic Thunder.

Tropic Thunder starts off with laughter and doesn’t let up until the final moment prior to the credits. With talent like Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black how could one go wrong? There was the possibility that it would be a fantastic flop, but that’s not the case. And it gave great humor spots to Jay Baruchel and Brandon T. Jackson, who stacked up well against the trio. This film was littered with cameos from the most bizarre to the most amazing and all of them have one thing in common: humor. When the director, writer (one of) and producer of the film is Ben Stiller then I suppose it’s easy to call upon the best star power and ask for them to just show face, because that’s what some just do. No lines, no part they just sit there and be them for a scene. Simply brilliant.

Ben Stiller offers the I’m sure of myself but not character, Robert Downey Jr. offers the I’m sure of myself most of the time look at me I’m in character don’t mess with me or I’ll talk circles around you character and Jack Black offers the hopped up on drugs comedian who goes insane and tied to a tree actor. A trifecta of movie character perfection.

The story is so insane and silly that it makes it far easier to allow it to pass without questioning it by asking what the hell is going on? I think Robert Downey Jr. just steals the entire film. He couldn’t have done this movie alone and it still worked, he just is the one that I come out laughing the most over. Everyone did a great job, even the cameos. I really loved how they started the film with introducing the four main actors from where they come from: the rap star, the serious actor, the comedian, the action star trying to get an Oscar actor. It was a great way of showing everyone where they are coming from and it was hilarious. The used a commercial and three trailers to frame the four.

Danny R. McBride is in two films that are pretty funny and what they have in common is that they both have him in it acting in a little weird role. Good thing that the roles are not similar that they could be interchangeable. In Pineapple Express he was a whiny tattle tell and in Tropic Thunder he is an excitable guy that likes to see things go boom!

The script did not waste words. From the sound of it every single line was used well and every single line had a sole purpose in existing and in moving the story along in telling, in humor or in odd character development. That was an interesting thing about this film it took what was silly and gave a little heart to how the characters came about at the end. I like how the end of the movie mirrored the beginning. That was a nice tie, although it had a twist of humor that made them very different.

The humor was just great. There’s the silly humor of the acting in an action movie along with the overdramatic deaths and then there’s the subtle humor that’s found in the dialog with the wit of how the actors deliver the lines. It’s my kind of humor.

Tropic Thunder delivers on what it promises in the trailer; an over the top, overly dramatic, snarky, witty comedy that pokes major fun at several different kind of actors in Hollywood. I think that Ben Stiller did an excellent job of directing and the writing was pretty good, which he did 1/3 of it. Without him I don’t think the cameos would have been so plentiful and so funny. Tropic Thunder is one of my favorite comedies of this year and over all. If you laughed at the trailer and found it to be funny that a white man was playing a black man and were not offended by the “retarded” scandal (which the word was not used in a derogatory fashion towards anyone but Ben Stiller’s character---great scene, by the way) then you’ll enjoy this film. If any moment in the trailer offended you then you best just stay away.

One of the cameos (I’ll just say it) was Tom Cruise. He’s not listed at all in the credits (as far as I see) on any online site, though he has a major role. He is the producer that is fat, balding and disgusting…but oh so funny. He must have been in make up for hours with them sticking hair up and down his arms and chest and working on those nubby fingers he had. He may be crazy when giving interviews that deal with Scientology or his love life, but he’s one phenomenal actor. He is a different character in all his films and he makes me forget that he’s that crazed Tom Cruise. Good choice in casting.

Tropic Thunder has a star studded cast along with a star studded cameo list that delivers hit after hit on comedic timing and gives what one should expect via the trailer. It allowed me to give thunderous laughter from the moment Booty Sweat (the rapper’s creative drink) commercial hit to the credits.

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