MONKEY REVIEW: Tropic Thunder (Unrated Director’s Cut)

November 22, 2008

tropicthunderBen Stiller’s Tropic Thunder is a profane, sometimes quite gory Hollywood satire about four self-absorbed stars (Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey, Jr. and Brandon T. Jackson) and their naive, film nerd co-star (Jay Baruchel) who, while filming a Vietnam War movie, inadvertently find themselves battling an actual jungle militia. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Richard Rush’s 1980 movie-making satire The Stunt Man, mostly because its aim tends to be a lot lower, but Tropic Thunder is nevertheless frequently hilarious and well worth seeing for its impressive array of comic actors working in top form. Downey, Jr. gives a fearless performance as a pretentious multi-Oscar winning Australian actor who undergoes cosmetic surgery to play a black soldier, but Stiller gives everyone a chance to get laughs, including Steve Coogan as the harried director, whose priceless reaction to one of the character’s lines is one of the best moments in the movie, and Tom Cruise, who has some explosively funny moments as an obnoxious producer. If there’s an overall flaw in Tropic Thunder, it’s that the idea of what’s happening onscreen is often funnier than the actual execution, but when it delivers, it delivers in a big way, so it’s easy to forgive it for the moments when it doesn’t.

MONKEY RATING: TWO MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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