Tropic Thunder

Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were a top-notch comedy team in the 1960s. When Ben was born he was in constant contact with A List entertainers and never lost touch. As his career has grown, he can tap into talent and recruit "names" that other producers only dream of.

"Tropic Thunder" starts with some fake movie trailers along with authentic studio logos and a green ratings notice with each movie saying it is "suitable for an audience"...no age, no rating, no nothing. The trailers show a blonde (Australian!) Robert Downey, Jr. ("Iron Man" and "Chaplin") playing a monk who has fallen in love with another monk, played by Toby McGuire ("Spiderman")! Jack Black ("King Kong" and "The Holiday") plays multiple roles in a tasteless Eddie Murphy-type comedy. Ben Stiller ("Meet the Parents" and "Zoolander") is clearly aping Sylvester Stallone and his "Rambo" series. I found the opening clips to be hilarious!

Stiller's character, Tugg Speedman, has had some bad, bad box office lately and MUST have a hit. He will star in a Vietnam War drama based on a book written by a grizzled vet played by Nick Nolte ("Hotel Rwanda" and "The Hulk"). Cast in Stiller's platoon we find Robert Downey, Jr, whose character has had his skin pigment altered so he can play a black man. In addition to Black, we find stand-up comic Brandon T. Jackson (who IS black), and Jjjay Baruchel (the spelling is my own because he reminds me of a good friend when I first met him 20 years ago).

Casting a white man to play a black one would be more problematic but the real black man is so unrelentingly critical that all the bad things that MIGHT have been said have already BEEN said. Very, very clever. Stiller makes fun of the egos, the drug use, the fakery and the flim flam of Hollywood. It is clear that he absolutely knows that world!

This movie is gross, bloody, profane, disgusting, has lots of blowie uppie stuff and I found it to be funny as hell.
  • Tom Cruise is practically unrecognizable as a bald, pudgy, foul-mouthed studio head
  • Matthew McConaughey is Stiller's bewildered but greedy agent
  • Steve Coogan is the befuddled British director of the movie within a movie
  • Christine Taylor (Stiller's wife) is a studio flunky
  • Tyra Banks is herself
  • Maria Menounos is herself
  • Jon Voight is himself
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt is herself
  • Jason Bateman is himself
  • Lance Bass is himself

The movie works best for those of us who follow the movie industry. We are more likely to pick up on the insider jokes, recognize the faces and know when we are having our legs pulled. Others might find it confusing and tiresome. The guy next to me, along with being quite drunk, found the movie "stupid" and left before the initial trailers ended; I was laughing my head off!