Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Tropic Thunder is one of those films that I personally thought, has more than enough buzz-words and marketing campaigns surrounding its impending release that made the effort of ignoring this film in order to keep any expectations in around a normal level, is virtually impossible. Therefore, it's pretty understandable that I head to this film expecting on perhaps one of the best comedy of the year. In that sense though, the film is satisfying albeit it runs a wee bit too long for a comedy and an obvious tip of the scale regarding its actor performances.

Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) is a tried-true-and-tired action star has been. He teams up with another tried-and-tired comedy star, Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) and 5 time Academy Award winners, Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) to shoot a film dubbed as "the most expensive war film ever made", Tropic Thunder. But the ego soon collides, and one decision after another put the actors and crew in a real-life situation as they crosses-path with opium smugglers amidst the depth of Vietnam jungle.

The film is more about Ben's take on Hollywood industry. About how Hollywood tends to squeeze the cow until the very last drop of milk (e.g sequels), evil producers, details attentive (useless) managers, drug-addictive actors, et cetera. As far as a commoner concerned, you could find pretty much every thing you need to know on how the industry worked in here. There's also a pretty hilarious take on why Sean Penn didn't even had a nod for I Am Sam. All in all, even if some of the jokes found here dangerously trotting, even breaching the lines of offensive attitudes, they're at least above average and thus made this film indeed, qualify as a serious candidate for one of the best comedy of the year. And some of the cameos are really worth the time on checking them out when the end credit rolls.

I personally couldn't get my head around Ben. Sure, he's been making some popular movies that no doubt most of you would be fond of remembering but, somehow, and I don't know why, I couldn't really spare any small amount of likenesses or gratitudes for him. But apparently, he has many friends in Hollywood that when he make this film as a some sort of mockumentary to this film, he'd get many support in and out of the screens. The most daring decision was of course to put Robert Downey Jr. as a dedicated Aussie actor who went as far as "re-pigmented" his skin in order to "correctly" portrayed the African-American actor in the Tropic Thunder film. And for a comedy that runs more than 90 minutes which is a long way to say "too-damn long", most of the time, the lines from Kirk that kept me going toward the finish line. Robert Downey Jr. is no doubt, an actor on a very different class of either Ben or Jack. Both of Ben / Jack seems like a sad sad foolish toddler who kicking in dirt to win some attentions ... and failed.

My rating: **1/2 / **** - A fun "mockumentary" on Hollywood, that albeit runs a bit too long, filled with uneven jokes that weren't as funny as the filmmakers think they are, able to provide some decent quality entertainment time that most of the moviegoers could enjoy. Robert Downey Jr. out-shined everyone else, and oh, pay attention to the cameos.

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