Mini-Rental Review: Tropic Thunder

"Tropic Thunder" sounded like a silly movie to me, so I waited until it came out on DVD to watch it.

It was extremely silly. It was also chock-full of vulgar language and a bit of violence. Some was "real" in the context of the movie and some wasn’t–there’s a grody scene at the beginning where a guy has fake guts coming out of his belly for the movie-within-the-movie. There’s another grody scene involving a guy’s severed head that’s "real" within the movie.

So if you’ve a weak stomach or strongly object to bad language, really do not watch this film.

The plot revolves around a group of actors filming a war movie. In an effort to make their scenes better, their director drags them into a wilderness area in Vietnam to film them that way, but when the director is gone, they run into a group of very real drug-runners and mistake them for actors in the movie.

Highlights of the movie include the best and most unexpected Tom Cruise performance I’ve ever seen. He plays an extremely foul-mouthed movie mogul who’s nonetheless extremely funny in a horrifying thank-goodness-I-don’t-know-anyone-like-this way.

More hilarious moments come from Robert Downey Jr., portraying an Australian method actor who actually dyed his skin in order to "become" his black character. I thought of Daniel Day-Lewis right off the bat, but it turns out Downey Jr. actually is a method actor and stayed in character as the Australian method actor throughout Tropic Thunder.

Jack Black has a pretty funny role too, as a heroin addict actor who seems to have been partly based on Chris Farley and partly based on Eddie Murphy.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a panda carnage scene.