The Screening Room Blog
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Why you should thunder along to 'Tropic'


LONDON, England -- A movie directed, co-produced, co-written and co-starred by Ben Stiller was never going to be an artistic chef-d’oeuvre. Never mind, cause “ain’t nothing but a thang,” as one of the lead actors would say.

The moguls behind "Tropic Thunder” didn’t aspire to make a movie with timeless lessons learned on the battlefront. This picture was meant to be a spare-no-expenses, “full-blown” (and there are more bombs going off than you’d find in the latest "Rambo"), hilarious flick. And despite all the controversial uproar surrounding the film’s depiction of the mentally challenged and minorities, hilarious it was.

What you take from it all depends on your expectations going in. Personally, I slipped into the theater after arriving ten minutes late for the screening of French drama “I Loved You So Long.” And for once, I was grateful to have been stuck in traffic.

Rather than leaving with an air of “yes, I understood the meaning of life,” I left with the giggle bug still ravaging my tummy and a good dose of self-depreciating humor to lighten the day.

More surprising than the good humor though, was the impressive acting. Robert Downey Jr. can do no wrong these days, this time brilliantly playing an oddball, ego-maniac actor who undergoes skin pigmentation alteration to play a black soldier. Tom Cruise has a cameo but brilliantly delivers as evil and repugnantly hirsute producer, Less Grossman.

Publicists for the film steered clear of “politically incorrect” criticism by claiming it was all meant to poke fun at the movie insiders themselves; depicting Hollywood’s overblown ego. In one candid scene, Robert Downey Jr’s character tells Ben Stiller’s that it is never smart to go “full retard” for a role, satirizing the ridiculous extent actors go to in their quest for an Oscar.

While doubts may still persist about these depictions, "Tropic Thunder" has proved a hit with most audiences. So if you are not faint-hearted (one character tries to keep fake guts pouring out of his stomach), generally do not roll your eyes when someone makes a fart joke (there are a good number of those) and are up for some good, silly humor in these otherwise serious times, then Thunder off to Tropic.

From Anouk Lorie for CNN
So true! This film is hilarious. It's not going to win any Oscars but delivers on its promise and kept me laughing out loud the whole way through.
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