Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Brief: TROPIC THUNDER (2008)

I was inclined to call this the most overrated film of 2008, but it's still only the middle of December. It probably will hold up as the most overrated comedy. Reviewers make too much of the transgressive bits, some of which are amusing, and they make too much of Robert Downey's performance, as if the film was his personal star vehicle. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Downey had to share space with Ben Stiller, which was inevitable with Stiller directing, and with Jack Black, for whom there was no excuse. I just don't like those two. Maybe I'll get it twenty years from now, but now? Nothing. Meanwhile, why was I supposed to be impressed by Tom Cruise dancing about in a bald cap? Having Cruise in his movie was probably a dream come true for Stiller, but a little of him goes a long, long way. I admit to being no real judge of contemporary comedy because so much of it rubs me the wrong way, but I found Burn After Reading a funnier film, in part because the Coen Brothers, dare I say, take stupidity more seriously than Stiller does. If I must recommend a comedy about making a movie, the first one that comes to mind is And God Spoke, but it's been years since I saw that one. No offense to people who like Tropic Thunder, but it struck me as just another overproduced comedy about infantile men. It might be funny to some folks, but not so much to me.


crhymethinc said...

I don't think you ought to worry about offending fans of Tropic Thunder or any other of Ben Stiller's abortive attempts at making movies - whether behind the camera or in front of it. Anyone who finds infantile men like Stiller, Black, Farrell, et. al. amusing deserves to be offended. Hell, they ought to have their wallets taken from them, since they obviously don't know the value of money.

hobbyfan said...

I didn't see Tropic Thunder (not that I'd care to), but I don't see what the problem is with Ben Stiller (2nd generation comic) or Jack Black (also 1/2 of Tenacious D). Black aquitted himself well in a dramatic role in the last King Kong remake 3 years ago. They must be doing something right if they're still making movies after all this time.

crhymethinc said...

Just because low-brow morons pay money to see grown men acting out like grade school children, does not mean the movies are "good" or even "well made". By your logic, since so many people buy crack, crack must be good.

In so far as the remake of King Kong goes, the only reason it was even watchable once was because of the direction of Peter Jackson and the CGI effects by WETA. The character played by Jack Black could have been played by any male Hollywood personality.
Jack Black is funny as part of Tenacious D - in limited 15-minute sketches, but on his own, he's just low-brow infantilism.

Samuel Wilson said...

Hobbyfan: Go back to the original Kong and check out Robert Armstrong's portrayal of Denham and you may understand why people dislike Black's performance. You can write it off to Peter Jackson's different interpretation of the character, but in that case he and Black have to share blame. In Black's defense, I thought Nacho Libre was tolerable, but he wasn't really playing his usual persona in that one. Usually, though, he and Stiller and the others crhymethinc and I have mentioned (and I have to add Carrey and Sandler to the list) get cheap laughs by talking weird, making funny faces and acting like unreal idiots, and with rare exceptions that doesn't amuse me.