Tropic Thunder (2008)

Saw Tropic Thunder yesterday and while it was not as offensive or as funny as I thought it would be, I enjoyed it. Ben Stiller skewers Hollywood (reality and move magic), actors (their “process,” insecurities, pressure that they are only as good as their last success, and egos), agents, moguls (and the struggle of power between financier, director and actor); as well as the whole art imitating life or life imitating art idea. It’s a lovingly baleful look which keeps it from being vicious, but Stiller’s “take it to the extreme to make a point and to make it funny” strategy is as firmly in place as tongue is to cheek.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked what he was trying to say and the more substance I found. Robert Downey, Jr. and Stiller portray their archetypes very well and so does another well-known actor I didn’t know was going to be in this film. Great supporting cast, although Jack Black could have been utlilized better…somehow.

1 Response to “Tropic Thunder (2008)”


  1. Reid

    4/10

    Just saw this.

    I agree with Penny thatJack Black could have been used better, or they should have cast someone else. The role Black’s character seemed to parody are the roles usually slotted for Ryan Reynolds or Seann William Scott, and Jack Black doesn’t really fit that.

    There are some funny lines in the film, not just by the main actors–I especially liked the lines and delivery of the explosion expert on the set. I have mixed feelings about Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. On the one hand, I thought it was really good. At times I almost forgot that he was Robert Downey Jr. or at least I bought him as a black actor. On the other hand, something prevents from giving unqualified praise of his performance. One of my favorite moments is Steve Coogan’s facial reaction to something Nick Nolte says to him. Brilliant.

    But there aren’t enough funny lines to make this a good film. My impression of Ben Stiller is that he is able to put together some funny situations and lines, but not enough to warrant a film. In other words, his material is better suited for sketch comedy.

    Penny, I’m interested in what made you think more highly of the film after more thought.

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