“Tropic Thunder,” Ben Stiller’s movie-in-a-movie satire grabs a handful of Hollywood stereotypes and clichés, throws in a few monkeywrenches and succeeds in making an entertaining movie. Entertaining, yes, but quite frankly not the huge tentpole event a few reviews have built it up to be.
At this point, everybody who’d care already knows the basic plotline of “Tropic Thunder.” Admittedly, this flick wouldn’t have as much appeal to me if it didn’t star Robert Downey, Jr. Here, Downey plays an over the top method actor who gets himself medically treated to look like African American for him to play a “black dude.” And it’s testament to the man’s skill that he is essentially an American actor playing Australian actor who had to play an African American actor.
Personally, Ben Stiller has done his “overtly-serious-it’s-funny” routine often enough for it to be his second skin. Not saying it wasn’t funny as always, but it wasn’t really such a big deal for me.
Jack Black channels his rock star persona and comes up with the drug-addled comedy star Jeff Portnoy, who made a name with a series of “Nutty Professor” style movies.
There were cameos galore. Of course, one of the most rewarding “surprises” (that the internet sort of ruined) was finding the oh-so-full-of-himself Mr. Tom Cruise actually look like he let his guard down and have a ton of fun. Mr. Cruise plays Les Grossman, a ruthless studio executive who so sleazy, I feel like a goddamn saint. Oh, and watching the man dance like an idiot through the closing credits just gave me newfound respect for Mr. Cruise.