by Sean Lynch
Ben Stiller has been getting away with his star
studded satires on Hollywood for
over a decade now, thanks
largely to the ridiculous budgets thrown at him by the MTV Movie Awards.
skits have always been short, sharp, and hilarious highlights of a
career which has recently started to take a dive into the mundane. But
we always knew he was capable of more than Something About Mary IV : Mary
Gets A Sex Change, and it seems like the time has finally
Thinder is the perfect comedy movie Ben Stiller has been
threatening to make for years - and its well worth the wait.
If Oceans 11 served as
a cinematic time capsule of the Who's Who of the respected A-List at
the beginning of this decade, Tropic
is it's Black Sheep cousin that boasts the most impressive assembly of
comedic (and high profile) talent ever seen on screen at the one time.
Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr (whose Night At The Museum,
Fu Panda and Iron Man each
grossed over $300M at the worldwide box office) lead an enormous
ensemble cast in this truly epic action comedy about a group of
self-absorbed actors who set out to make the most expensive war film
After ballooning costs forces studio boss Les
Grossman (played by an unrecognisable Tom Cruise) to cancel the
movie after only one day (the movie is 3 months behind
due to one hell of an explosion), the frustrated director refuses to
stop shooting and leads his cast into the jungles of
Asia where he plans to finish the film no matter what... or how real.
sheer stupid enormity of the film (it's one of the rare cases where you
can see where every cent of the budget was spent) makes up for any weak
spots - and there really aren't many at all.
In fact, I would go as far to say it is one of the best comedies of the
decade. Not in the same "Laugh-Per-Minute" realm of Superbad
but it must be commended for the sheer unrelenting joy that it provides.
the countless cameos (I won't ruin them for you, because half the fun
is seeing familiar faces just pop up), to the witty satire, the stupid
joy of seeing cute Asian children brutally shooting and stabbing grown
men, the Hollywood in-jokes (although, at times it might be a little to
in-joke... in that unless you are getting paid $20M a movie yourself,
the jokes might go over your head), to the spot-on mock trailers which
precede the film.
Everything just seems to work perfectly.
What really stands out about Tropic
just that it's so refreshing to see such a well put together,
unpredictable, genuinely funny and original comedy coming from these
stars who are so often pidgeon holed into releasing such repetitive
Even Cruise delivers a cuss-ridden
is outside of the box, with a take on the Hollywood studio big-men,
giving us a character that is half "Weinstein" - half "Paramount
Executives that fired him after M:I:3
success of the movie comes down to two people - Downey Jr and newcomer
Brandon Soo Hoo.
is on fire at the moment (he's always been superb - but he's finally
getting mainstream cred) and he owns every single frame that he appears
on. The same can be said for youngster Soo Hoo who provides a good
number of laughs as a drug lord.
It also helps RDJ is playing
an Aussie - so there is an odd sense of pride and camaraderie
Australian audiences are bound to feel any time Kirk Lazarus defends
and cast aside, credit must
also go to the films writer Justin Theroux (who most will remember as
"the bad Irish guy from Charlies
Angels 2") who continues on his merry way of mocking genre
pieces (he has also done some fine work in The Ten
and Wet Hot American
Summer) with the utmost respect.
This is the Shaun of
the Dead of the war movie genre. It achieves everything Pineapple Express wanted to do with
Action/Comedy - and exceeds it tenfold.
is inspired absurdity on a truly grand scale, and can quite proudly be
displayed as a footnote in history of the best the entertainment
industry had to offer in the first decade of the new millennium.
Australian release: 21st August,
Site: Tropic Thunder
Cast: Ben Stiller, Jack Black,
Robert Downey Jr, Brandon T. Jackson
Director: Ben Stiller