Featuring a stellar cast that includes Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr. and Danny McBride, Tropic Thunder thrives on both its talent and premise, bringing a story to life that is nothing short of pure entertainment from start to finish, and could easily be considered Stiller's best work.
As the film starts out, we are taken on the set of the biggest, most-expensive war movie to ever be made. Starring three diverse actors in action star Tugg Speedman, comedian Jeff Portnoy and five-time Oscar-winner Kirk Lazarus, the film is expected to break records and reestablish its stars. But it takes no time for personalities to clash, forcing the film's amature director to resort to the very lowest of means. Needing to capture the raw and intense motions of a real war, the actors are dropped into the jungles of Southeast Asia where they are forced to survive the numerous traps that have been set up for them by the film's crew. However, unbeknownst to the cast and crew, they have picked an unlikely spot; that of an active war zone. The bullets are real. The bombs are real. And most importantly, the situations are real. Now, in an effort to survive the most dangerous movie set ever created, the cast of Tropic Thunder is forced to come together and work for their lives - literally.
Sound familiar? It shouldn't. Prompted by a fresh script and a set of must-see guest stars, Tropic Thunder is more than just a comedy, but a pure pop-culture phenomenon.
Leading the pack is Ben Stiller, who pulls double duty as the film's director and action star, Speedman. Capitalizing on Speedman's style and persona, Stiller is able to fully transform and use his comedic talent to good use. He is fast, witty and downright hilarious as you can't help but fall in love with his attitude and charisma.
Additionally you have the hysterical Jack Black, who uses his unique timing and outrageous behavior to bring funnyman Jeff Portnoy to life. While Black seemed to be somewhat hindered by his character's overall purpose, he flawlessly portrays a man who has built a career around a film franchise that deals with the grotesque action of farting. Not to mention his heavy parting and drug addiction, which conveniently keeps him in the tabloids and on people's minds.
Then there is Robert Downey Jr., an actor whom many had written off only years ago, but has received new life after his impeccable performance in one of the summer's biggest blockbusters, Iron Man. However, Downey has never been considered much of a comedian actor, especially in comparison to his two hysterical co-stars. Not to worry, using his growing talent and quaint ability to tear down the house, this rising star gives audience members exactly what they have come to know and love: a truly amazing performance from a truly amazing actor.
As a threesome, the three A-listers preformed brilliantly with one another. Their chemistry was solid and their delivery was precise, making this the best casted comedy since 2004's Old School.
Unfortunately, the film wasn't all brilliant. Thriving to serve out the daunting task of making fun of oneself, Tropic Thunder occasionally suffered the insecure and immature feeling of a person who overexerts to achieve a small mission. There were instances where I felt that the film was trying too hard to create a funny line or sequence of events, and as a result, the film became a bit cloudy on a few rare occasions. Thankfully, this small matter is easily overlooked when looking at the film as a whole and doesn't prevent the movie from being a comedy smash that fans have been waiting much of 2008 to see!
With that said, I can venture back to the cast of the film. In addition to the three stellar leads, Tropic Thunder opted to take a bite out of the formula that helped propel Anchorman to greatness as they featured over twenty noticeable faces in guest-staring and cameo roles. From high profile stars to your typical B-rated trash, the stars are out and about for this film. And while most of the cameos are in the closing minutes of the film, it is still al clever and ingenious way to drive home the fact that the entire film is nothing more than a joke about Hollywood – and at that, we can all laugh.