Movie Review: Tropic Thunder

Movies and Television
© 2008 Dreamworks Paramount Tropic Thunder

Retards, hop heads, and African-Australians, oh my. Things are funny up in this Jungle.

Ben Stiller has a winner here with Tropic Thunder, an inside-Hollywood parody that is equally scathing, entertaining and offensive, on all counts.

Yes the term retard is not politically correct. Mental retardation is not a laughing matter, except here when the movie accurately portrays it in the light of the Academy’s love affair with socially and intellectually challenged portrayals.

So not quite sure why there is this much on-going hoopla.

I have not read or seen anything about horse heads storming of their NA meetings, irate about Jack Black as a dragon-chasing comedian doing Eddie Murphy’s shtick. And not going to look.

There was only one use of the N-word here, and for effect the method-actor-in-blackface–always a risky proposition–is the one who corrects the real black man. Yet on the flipside, the real black man then challenges all the stereotypical affectations the Aussie is using to portray his character. Funnier still this black man turns out to be…well, shall we say, an alternative version of Diddy.

One of the inside Hollywood parts I liked, the truthiness of TPTB casting a well-known, award winning white guy to play a black role. Robert Downey Jr. nailed it.

The motley crew is rounded out by the rookie director; a whacko story consultant; crazy special effects guy; the “caught in the middle” no name but strong young actor; kiss ass agent; and megalomaniacal studio boss. Stiller and Co. are blasting at Hollywood, and having fun doing it (think Entourage, only, good). I have left out the other great performance, for the few folks who had not been spoiled, because well…it’s a treat.

The whole thing is fun with its HoYay, and war, and making you laugh out loud at shit that should not be funny. Using gross out humor in the right way, Tropic Thunder rises above a lot of slop comedies. Working its R rating, Thunder uses violence and language (instead of naked women) to go over the top…then keep right on going.

Final Snark: I liked the smell of fart-scented, testosterone fueled Hollywood ego in the evening. Especially when it’s this funny. Word of caution, do not have anything to drink or you will piss yourself.

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