Tropic Thunder

Release Date: August 13, 2008
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Movie of the Day for Sunday, August 3, 2008
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I paid $10 to see Along Came Polly in theaters!

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
5/196 Max Braden Robert Downey Jr. is phenomenal again, but Tom Cruise is mesmerizing in his key scene. There's some great cinematography here.
9/31 John Seal The funniest, most profane film of the year
14/43 Kim Hollis The funniest movie I've seen in a long time. Downey has two stellar performances in this calendar year.
15/98 David Mumpower The funniest film I have seen in 2008 to date.
15/31 Les Winan Consistantly funny and thankfully not totally focused on Ben Stiller. Robert Downey Jr. is phenomenal.
24/52 Sean Collier Didn't set the world on fire. Still pretty damn funny.

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Although people have what seems to be an almost insatiable appetite for Hollywood gossip, one of the great puzzlers of the ages is that audiences seem to avoid films about Hollywood, or filmmaking, like the plague. Whether it's because they're too inside baseball, or whether it's because they involve that dreaded word, satire, or whether that these films a lot of times, well, suck, it seems like the easiest way to flush some money down the toilet is to make a film about a film.

Ben Stiller hopes to break this pattern with a novel approach – making the film as funny as hell. Tropic Thunder is his first directorial effort in seven years, following Zoolander. It follows the making of a war film that's going so badly that its director (Steve Coogan) decides to drop the stars into a real war zone unknowingly and film that. And who doesn't love recursivity? The film, and the film within a film, stars Stiller (essentially playing his Tom Crooze role), Jack Black as a comedian-turned-serious actor, Robert Downey Jr. as a petulant Australian method actor who is hired to replace a black actor that dropped out – but in black face, along with a host of other notables.

The comedy here, it's hoped, comes from the cocksuredness of the actors in the middle of a war zone, with real bullets flying; contrasting it with how false and phony war movies tend to be. That sounds a bit high-concept, but then there's the red-band trailer with a clueless Stiller getting stabbed in the back repeatedly by a child he thought he was saving. That's comedy gold right there.

Stiller also scripted the film, along with actor Justin Theroux, who's always seemed vaguely auteuristic, and Etan Cohen (no, not that one, the King of the Hill writer) so there's a strong comedy pedigree in all elements of the film – now it's just a matter of people caring. (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)

Vital statistics for Tropic Thunder
Main Cast Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr.
Supporting Cast Nick Nolte, Brandon Jackson, Steve Coogan, Danny R. McBride, Bill Hader, Jay Baruchel, Matt Levin, Andrea De Oliveira, Reggie Lee, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise
Director Ben Stiller
Screenwriter Ben Stiller, Etan Cohen, Justin Theroux
Distributor DreamWorks
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 3,319
Awards Awards page for Tropic Thunder
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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