Movie Review: Tropic Thunder (2008)
In a land filled with horrible, unfunnyspoofs (I use that word lightly), it’s a pleasant surprise when something like Tropic Thunder rolls into theaters. Crappy movie producers take note: This is how you do a parody.
Literally thrown into the battlefield, a group of actors try to make their way back to civilization while encountering vicious Asian drug dealers. Sounds hilarious, right? Well, when the actors include Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr (in what amounts to black face), and Jay Baruchel (from Undergrads) you’re all set for a comedy. Throw in some cameos by Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Bill Hader and more and you’re even better.
Similar to Hot Fuzz in the action spoof genre, Tropic Thunder does a great job of balancing the comedy with the actual action. While the film is still a comedy first and an action movie second, there’s still plenty of both to make this a great movie.
The main topic that’s being made fun of is Hollywood itself. The film even starts out with trailers for fake movies starring the main actors from the film. These are complete with overly dramatic voice overs and opening movie studio logos. There was some protesting when the film premiered, but I’m sure that just drove more people to the theater to see what all the hub-bub was about. I can see how some people might be offended by the depiction of the mentally handicapped in the film, but I feel like it’s a lot of overreacting. Stiller (who not only stars, but produced, directed, and co-wrote Tropic Thunder) isn’t making fun of the mentally handicapped. Instead he’s showing how far an actor is willing to go in an effort to try and redeem themselves in the eyes of Hollywood. This superficial, ridiculous culture is what is being spoofed here! It’s similar to the beef that Kevin Smith got with Chasing Amy. There were some words said about lesbians which some people were offended by. Smith pointed out that they purposely had the lines said by the character that’s a complete moron in the film. It’s obviously not to be taken seriously and by having the lines said by such a character, it should be seen as a stupid saying to begin with.
Bottom line: Tropic Thunder is great. It’s a hilarious film with plenty of explosions and it’s just downright fun and that’s what movies should be in the first place. FUN!