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Movie Review - Tropic Thunder

Monday, September 15, 2008

Movie Review - Tropic Thunder

Starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jack Black. Directed by Ben Stiller.

Rated R for R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material. Run Time of 1 Hour 47 Minutes.

Tropic Thunder is an action comedy that satirizes Hollywood. The basic premise is that a bunch of actors are filming a new movie that will be the 'best war movie ever!' and are running into all kinds of trouble filming it. Soon, the director decides to drop them into a forest area and film the action from afar, however, he mistakenly drops them into a real war zone and the actors take a long time to realize they are no longer acting, but playing parts in a real war. The idea is nothing new as it has been done many times before such as in Three Amigos, but Ben Stiller is growing in his directing talents and has a made a completely self-aware high brow comedy that delivers the laughs.

I was very impressed with Tropic Thunder. It has an unconventional opening that is stunningly well put together and hilarious. Once the actual flick starts rolling, the mood is already set and you are ready to laugh and it doesn't take long to get into it. Stiller usually annoys me in most of his roles, however this one, is less annoying and the additions of capable actors like Robert Downey, Jr., and Jack Black off set Stiller's crazy man antics enough that, for me personally, the movie was more enjoyable. Tropic Thunder also has lots of cameo's and supporting cast roles from big name actors like Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey, and a surprising turn from Tom Cruise. This is a star-studded film and everyone looks like they are having a blast filming it.

It is interesting to note that this flick has just as much action and gun battles as it does comedy. Sometimes, they are so intermixed that the action is the comedy and the comedy is the action. It's the mark of a truly fine script that didn't just throw in action for the heck of it, but rather to grow the comedy. I can't express enough, how much the effects add to the flick without making it too over the top. The interesting thing is, the flick is making fun of over the top action flicks, while also being not over the top. I thought the balance that the filmmakers struck in making this flick was quite remarkable.

So, in conclusion, I liked it. Yes, it was a bit predictable and some jokes just fell completely flat, but the overall flick was very enjoyable. I highly recommend checking out Tropic Thunder, however it is rated R for a reason and some of the young ones probably shouldn't be seeing it. With that said, the rampant unnecessary violence and pervasive language adds so much to the comedic aspect, this is an R rating that the flick not only deserves but should be proud of, since it relishes in it for comedic effect.

Tropic Thunder is playing at Cinema 3 in McCook. Check out www.fridleytheatres.com for more info and showtimes.

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