Thursday, February 19, 2009

Movie Log: Tropic Thunder

There's a lot of swearing in Tropic Thunder -- too much for my wife, I think. But it's a parody -- and comedy for adults tends to the salty these days -- of a Vietnam movie, and those are famously full of cursing. So, for the five people who haven't seen it yet, keep that in mind.

Ben Stiller here reverts back to his older, less popular style of comedy -- the kind that's caviar for the general, usually; like his old TV show, which I and about a half-dozen other people loved at the time -- it's situational and allusional rather than being filled with obvious punch lines. It's not a movie with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, but it is funny nevertheless. The whole point is that it's exaggerated...but done so straight that it doesn't feel exaggerated, most of the time; the viewer can easily believe that people just like these populate Hollywood, and act just like that.

Tropic Thunder pretends to tell the story of the making of a Vietnam movie, with the usual array of movie stereotypes: the new, in-over-his-head British director (Steve Coogan); the action star on the downhill side of a career (Stiller); the gross-out comedian (Jack Black); the Serious Actor (Robert Downey, Jr.); and more. They're somewhere in Southeast Asia, and the actors are out of control -- so the director decides to do some guerrilla filmmaking, deep in the jungle, just him and the main cast. And then things go bad...but these guys are actors, and take a long, long time to realize (or decide, or admit) that they're not on camera.

The end product, as I said, is very funny -- but not the kind of funny that makes you laugh out loud. (At least, not for me.) And, if there's anything that offends you on any kind of a regular basis -- no matter what that is -- it's a sure bet that this movie will offend, as well. If you've ever laughed and then said "that's not funny," avoid Tropic Thunder. You'd hate yourself in the morning. But I have no shame; I liked it a lot.


Kaz Augustin said...

The only thing that rankled for me was the (SPOILER) little boy who supposedly ran such a large, ruthless drug ring. But, other than that, Hubby and I enjoyed the movie tremendously. Robert Downey Jr. was a particular delight to watch. Will have to watch it a second time because we kept laughing over the dialogue and missing half the jokes, I'm sure.

Hagelrat said...

sooo want to see this.

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