He'll save the world again... again

It's been a shitty year for comedies. If the best thing so far was 'Pineapple Express' (enjoyable but disposable), that's not too hot. And, this being Are You Gene Hackman, it is always appropriate to remind you what the nadir was. So expectations weren't particularly high for 'Tropic Thunder' but with an all-star cast (including the Coog!), I expected some fun at least. And all the controversy definitely drew more attention. I was worried that that a satire on the biz, poking fun at actors and executives, might not have much widespread appeal. But when you've this many A-listers, I guess the box office wasn't hurting too much.

It was ridiculous. For a major studio film, there was so much going on. It was dumb. It was funny. There were some big laughs. There were some great lines. I enjoyed it. The Downey-as-black-man stuff was very funny but it worked as a satire, there was a good pay-off at the end. (Although the line "I don't break character until I've done the DVD commentary" was kind of great). Jay Baruchel plays sincere well, as always, which is why it's weird to see him as a tough guy in the Nick and Norah trailer. Jack Black is ok, as is Stiller. Neither is really sending up their own image too severely, unlike Downey, who as you may be aware, actually was kind of crazy. Having said that, this is the funniest thing either Black or Stiller has been in for years. (Notable exception: Extras). Danny McBride and Bill Hader are back in their second release in two weeks.

You might have heard about the celebrity cameos. Tom Cruise well-advisedly breaks his usual persona to play a studio exec who swears a whole lot. While I don't endorse unnecessary dance breaks in the middle of comedies - that's a Seltzer/Friedberg move, and you're better than that, Stiller - it was nice to hear 'Low' in a film for the second time in a few weeks. Nice to see Jason Bateman in one frame towards the end, too.

'Tropic Thunder' isn't fantastic or hilarious. But it's consistently fun, as intellectual as two boxes of umbrellas, and has some pretty gnarly explosions. And Nick Nolte's in it! It won't blow you away, but it's funny and that's all it needs to be.


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