Tropic Thunder (2008)

Its funny, even the 4th time around.

This combat film send-up from director-star Ben Stiller tracks a group of actors who are forced to become real-life soldiers when they’re abandoned in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The all-star cast includes Robert Downey Jr. (in an Oscar-nominated role), Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte, with an unrecognizable (and Golden Globe–nominated) Tom Cruise playing a crude movie mogul.

For the most part, I have seen this film about 4 times, and almost every time I laugh more. When I first saw this, I didn’t quite get the satire the film was using, however, knowing more and more about the movie biz I understood everything that this movie was saying.

The script I have to say is very well-written with some of the best satire in a long time. The jokes here are centered towards anybody, because the films finds its ways to make fun of anyone and everyone: blacks, whites, homosexuals, mentally-challenged, drug addicts, and of course celebrities. All of these jokes are in bad taste, but almost every single gag works. Some people don’t understand the jokes because its jokes are more Hollywood based, so it will go over some people’s heads, but once you understand the joke, their actually very funny and smart.

However, I will say that some of the jokes were pretty stupid, and it seems like they were trying their hardest to get a lot of really funny jokes out there, and it just looked like they were trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong they were funny, but sometimes, it seemed like it was just itching for the laughs.

The cast is the main reason why this film works. Each star gets credit, cause they take the bait, by letting themselves be made fun of. Ben Stiller is the typical down-grading action star, Jack Black is the drug-addicted, fat comedy man, Brandon T. Jackson is playing the rapper-turned-actor, who can’ stop drinking booty sweat, and Jay Baruchel, is…well….the guy who’s just there. Each character makes fun of someone, and its easy to see who, but others will just go over your head.

The two best worth mentioning are obviously the only two that were nominated for awards. Robert Downey Jr., sometimes didn’t make any sense when he talked, but he is hilarious when I did understand him. He has the greatest lines of the whole movie, and brings nothing other than his A game, and makes everything funny. Tom Cruise, is also funny as hell. He brings a lot of random funny as hell moments, with his random out-bursts, and spoof of real-life agents.

Consensus: Tropic Thunder sometimes tries too hard to bring laughs, with some easily offensive ones, but is other than that, a hilarious spoof, that is boosted even more by the great performances.



  1. I’d say Tropic Thunder rises above mediocrity thanks to the performances of Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise (who couldn’t play more against type!)

  2. I skipped this at the theaters and was totally enchanted by the plot and comedy this movie had. Downey’s performance is rock solid and Black’s performance is his best since High Fidelity.

    I do feel terrible when I laugh and the off-color jokes, but I simply can’t help it. Crusie’s cameo is funny, but I heard there is a spin-off including his character which I’m not looking forward to.

    • Black is funny, but not his best by any stretch. And the jokes were funny, as much as they were offensive, and that spin-off is going to be terrible.

    • Yes, I loved the trailers at the beginning! The trailers and just about everything else in the movie really, did a fantastic job poking away at Hollywood. Ben Stiller deserves a lot of credit for all the effort he put into this project.

      Unless some of the other characters are coming back, I don’t know if I am interested in a Cruz spin-off.

  3. Ummm … I loathed Jack Black! Every time he said something he just made me cringe.

    At first I was kinda PO’d at RDJ getting Oscar nommed for this but after watching it again in bits and pieces on HBO, I kind of appreciate it more.

  4. Unlike you, I thought it was quite hilarious the first time but doesn’t sustain the rewatchability factor. And I’m with Marshall about the obnoxious Jack Black, he was really annoying and not funny. It would be a 7/10 for me.

  5. I still think it’s the best comedy of the decade and stays funny after each viewing. Great write-up! And Stiller’s script is just as good as the performances, I think. Oh, BTW, I just found out about The Versatile Blogger award from a few of our movie blog friends and did my own post, as a couple of them nominated me. I included your site in my post and I think I am supposed to inform you of this…

  6. Robert Downey Jr. and McConaughey make this movie for me. Granted I’ve only seen it the one time. Perhaps another viewing will increase the funny.

    • They steal the show, Heather. Agreed. But the whole film is hilarious. I don’t know. So many women I know weren’t crazy about this one. Guys seem to love it for some reason. Maybe it is a Venus/Mars movie….Hmmm…

  7. I agree, a lot of great, if mean spirited, jokes, but some were just too stupid.

    I wasn’t expecting much from this one but I ended up having a blast with it. And Tom Cruise is so great in this role.

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