If you think of 2008 & Robert Downey Jr. your first though may be Ironman, which saw the stock of the star rocket into the stratosphere! But there was another film he starred in that year, the ensemble comedy Tropic Thunder.
Tropic Thunder is personally one of my favorite comedy films, and it’s a film I can happily watch over and over again! The film packs in numerous A-Listers, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Tom Cruise & Matthew McConaughey and produce a hilarious satire of Hollywood.
So whats it all about? Tropic Thunder is the story of a group of actors, who are thrown together into the jungle of South East Asia to film an adaptation of the story of a Vietnam veteran. Tugg Speedmen (Stiller), our lead star, is the washed up 80s action hero. Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr.) is the ultra intense method actor. Jeff Portnoy (Black) is the type cast comedian, who is forever associated with his toilet humour. You also have the fresh faced new actor, who none of the experienced actors take seriously, and the rapper looking to crossover into films for that extra income.
What the film does well is how it portrays how ridiculous Hollywood can be. How some actors will go so far into character, that it’s borderline ludicrous. Which was the point of making Downey Jrs. character undergo skin pigmentation therapy to portray an African American. He even says ” I don’t drop character ’til I’ve done the DVD commentary”, just to hammer home the point! The film also makes a point on how hard it can be for a director to control highly strung actors with their diva like behavior! Or how actors will take part in cheap PR opportunities to appeal to fans .
One surprise in the film, was the appearence of Tom Cruise as Les Grossman. The arrogant, overtly crude, and on one crazy power trip, big shot Producer! The fact many didn’t even notice him until the end credits made the cameo even better! His expletive exchanges over the phone are by far some of the most memorable scenes his filmed! Full credit to him for trying a role which is so out of his norm, and totally nailing it!!
The movie is full of quotes that made you laugh out loud!
” I don’t read the script. The script reads me.”
”I know who I am! I’m a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude!”
”And we’ll weep for him… in the press, set up a scholarship in his name, eventually – and I’m talkin’ way, way down the road – we file an insurance claim.”
Sure there are a few more quotes, which are more explicit, so I wont share them here 😛
The film has small touches that gives it a lot of charm, such as the spoof trailers of the in film stars playing before the start of the film. Their so well done, for a moment you believe that the trailers are real!
So if you’re a fan of Ben Stiller, and the kind of humour his films usually deliver, then I would most definitely recommend you dig it up from the archives and give it a watch! You’ll love it! 😀