Tuesday 18th January 2022

Tropic Thunder (15)
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
One of these guys isn't really black
One of these guys isn't really black

Tropic Thunder might just be the funniest comedy I've seen all year. It's currently getting a lot of stick, in America in particular, for being politically incorrect or controversial, which is absolute nonsense. It's a great comedy film and the jokes in it are just that: jokes. I can promise you that there is nothing offensive in this film and any content people may dub as "controversial" is definitely meant with the best of intentions.

Ben Stiller writes, directs and stars in this one, which sets its stall out as a silly comedy right from the start, with a series of fake trailers that introduce you to the characters in the film. Stiller plays Tugg Speedman, an action hero whose best days are behind him and finds he can't pull in box office figures as he once did. He is also stupid (think Zoolander) and frustrated that no one considers him to be a proper actor.

Jack Black, meanwhile, plays a typical cheesy comedy star, starring in what are basically the sort of films Eddie Murphy makes today. But stealing the show is the excellent Robert Downey Jr, who's character is a highly respected Oscar-winning actor who's looking for his next demanding role.

The thing that all three of them have in common is that they all want to make a film that will give them plenty of artistic credit, which is why they have all signed up to star in a Vietnam film, directed by Steve Coogan. That's right, Tropic Thunder is a film about some people making a film, but it's still a regular comedy rather than being shot documentary style.

The controversy (and for my money most of the best material) comes from Robert Downey Jr's character, who is only starring in the Vietnam film because he gets to play a black guy. And quite frankly, he's hilarious at it. He plays a massive stereotype and refuses to come out of character even when the cameras aren't rolling.

There are plenty of cameos in the film too, from the likes of Tobey Maguire, Matthew McConaughey and most notably Tom Cruise, who plays a fat, balding, power-crazed movie executive. His scenes are frankly hilarious, and while they sometimes go over the top, I couldn't help laughing at them all the same.

As with a lot of Stiller's comedies, there's not much of a plot, but once the premise is set up, there's so much to laugh at that it doesn't matter. And with this one, there really is plenty to laugh at – so if you're looking for a good comedy to see at the cinema, look no further than Tropic Thunder.

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Length: 107 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 19th September 2008

Top Five Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)
User Rating: 85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0% (85.0%)

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