Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tropic Thunder has no spark

I was really excited to see Tropic Thunder. I love Robert Downey, Jr. and thought watching him for a while would always be worth it. And if this movie had cut Jack Black and Ben Stiller from the cast, the movie almost would have been worth sitting in the theater. Mostly the movie just never gets going, and Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise are the best things about the movie, particularly Cruise's over-the-top office boss. The main story is that diva-like actors are filming a movie about a rescue attempt in Vietnam. The director can't get control, so he puts his main 5 actors (Black, Stiller, Downey, Jay Baruchel and Brandon T. Jackson) into the forest and plans to film them in real situations out of reach of their agents, managers, and assistants. Downey, a full method actor, thinks it's great, Black starts coming off his heroine high and acts crazy, and Stiller decides he needs to lead with no one to follow. Lots of crazy mishaps occur and finally they have to really rescue some of their group from a drug processing camp. Most of the lines are delivered as one-liners that could be put in a trailer and as such rarely make for actual conversation. If they were funny, this would be a great gimmick, but rarely are they even interesting and often unintelligible. There are a few points with real humor, but mostly it's forced over the top insanity. McConaughey as Stiller's agent is funny throughout with his obsession about getting Stiller a TiVo on location. Downey really commits to his insane character and when other people challenge his need to stay in character, even he doesn't understand why he's doing it, causing laughs. Overall, I really didn't like the movie and would give it 2 of 5 stars/lambs. Stiller and Black were wasted and just uninteresting. The supporting characters all around were a lot more interesting.

6 comments:

Graham said...

I felt the way you did through parts of the movie - I like Stiller alot, but he can be too much, and I didn't think Black ever got going. But in the last 40 minutes or so, I thought that they both made up for their deficiencies from the rest of the movie.

I definitely agree about one thing: Downey, McConaughey, and Cruise are highlights, and 2 out of 3 of those are surprising.

Jess said...

You're right, I usually find McConaughey a one-trick pony, but he finally found the perfect role to fit his acting style.

Alexa Z said...

I think this (like most comedies) you need to see in a full theatre with people who are enjoying it. I thought it was really good... Though I agree with your comment that Stiller and Black could have been cut.

Jess said...

I did see it in a full theater - actually sold out. Some people did laugh, but mostly they didn't care for it much.

WaywardJam said...

I think I enjoyed it 1 star more than you, but agree with all you said. Downey-Cruise-McCon were great and I also enjoyed McBride and wish Baruchel had been given more to do. Stiller was much too much, as always.

nick plowman said...

I am still looking forward to seeing this one.