Tropic Thunder

Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, and Etan Cohen
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Steve Coogan, Nick Nolte, Danny McBride, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise
Release Year: 2008
IMDB rating: 7.4

A star-studded comedy from Ben Stiller. Usually it would be hard to share the screen time among the stars. But that wasn’t the case with this movie. I think the story managed to distribute enough screen time for each star without explicitly seen as ‘enforcing’ it.

Interestingly enough, the movie was about a movie in a production hell because of too many stars involved in it. Tugg Speedman, Kirk Lazarus, Alpa Chino, Jeff Portnoy, and Kevin Sandusky then dropped at the jungle somewhere around the Golden Triangle where a heroin-producing gang Flaming Dragons operate. Initially the director Damien Cockburn wanted to film the actors guerrilla-style, with hidden cameras, but he ended up blown up by a mine. After some time, the actors realized that things were real and not part of the scenario. Together they must find their way out of the jungle.

Some spoofs were there in the movie, but the comedy sometimes got overdone. Like when Speedman suddenly having identity crisis and Portnoy’s addiction to drugs. I don’t think they need to be over-emphasized. Les Grossman (played by Tom Cruise) was also a bit exaggerated. But I read somewhere that he was based on Stiller’s producer partner Stuart Cornfeld. So I guess some people just got that weird attitudes. Also, Rick’s (Matthew McConaughey) sudden appearance in the jungle baffled me. How could he found out the location that easily? But then again, sometimes comedies must be excused from the logical perspective.

Acting was great. Robert Downey, Jr.’s play as an Australian playing an African-American was convincing enough, although Stiller remained standard with his acting as well as Jack Black. I guess other than Downey, Cruise got himself an equally great performance.

Overall, though, the movie was enjoyable and it was a pretty unique movie. I guess worthy enough to break the Dark Knight’s weekly winning streak at the box office. For the rating, I’d give it a 7.0.
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