Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tropic Thunder (2008) Review:

Ben Stiller isn't clueless when it comes to comedy. Stiller is a veteran in this genre and has the experience of directing going back to the late 1980's. So it is no surprise to me that this Platoon (1988) parody of sorts works out really well. The comedy is strong, the actors have an impressive script and the action is definitely there. Out of that, I found only a couple things I didn't like particularly but it shouldn't be that much of a problem to others.

Ben Stiller as his other counterpart (in a bad movie)
It seems a little confusing but the plot really isn't all that hard to follow. A small group of actors best known for playing their own various roles come together in another movie taking place during the Vietnam War to show the power of human drama. But, they never get to that point - why? Because all of them can't seem to work together. Frustrated because the director's wasting his time, effort and money and, is being harassed by a rude business mogul, he decides to take his uncooperative actors into Vietnam itself and continue filming from there. Little do any of them realize that they are headed to an area filled with real gorilla fighters. That's where things get crazy.

So what kinds of characters do the actors play in this movie? Jack Black plays a drug-addicted actor who can get really delusional if he doesn't get what he wants. Ben Stiller plays a troubled actor who can't seem to get his feet in the right movies. Instead he ends up playing the Hollywood game of sequel after sequel after sequel or in just really bad movies. Last but certainly not least is Robert Downey Jr. who plays multiple roles in one shot. I consider this role (in real life) his most impressive because of how concentrated a person would have to be to perform like this. And it's not like the roles are close to each other either - he's playing Australian, who's playing an African American! That’s a controversial step in acting.

Robert Downey Jr. as his other counterpart
The action was nice too in this parody. It may not have been as frequent as the comedy but that's proportional since this is a comedy more than it is an action film. The script written by Etan Cohen and Justin Theroux did a great job. There are so many references to other films like Platoon (1988) and Forrest Gump (1994) that'll make people recollect with nostalgia. And because it is executed in the most hilarious manner, it will also generate a lot of laughs too. Not to mention that the 4th wall is broken a couple times too and Theodore Shapiro's score wasn't too shabby either.

However I did find some parts of the movie a little unrealistic. For example, how can someone survive multiple stabs to the back and shoulders but still be able to move them so easily? The human body can only take so much punishment before it hurts too much to even try to move. And although Jack Black did have some rather funny moments, his character made me more annoyed with him than liked him. He just came off as always in the way. Other than that this movie is a rock solid comedy.

Because Ben Stiller knows how to director a comedy, his direction on this movie propels it far higher than what people might think. Also see it for Robert Downey Jr.'s impressive acting performance.

Points Earned --> 9:10

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