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Tropic Thunder (2008)

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Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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589 ( 40)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cameraperson - Vietnam Crew
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First Assistant Director - Vietnam Crew
Amy Stiller ...
Script Supervisor - Vietnam Crew
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Dempsey Silva ...
Special Effects Assistant - Vietnam Crew
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Storyline

Action movie star Tugg Speedman is on the downslide of his professional career. He wants to be considered a serious actor, but his latest serious role as the title character in "Simple Jack" resulted in negative reviews and ridicule. Comedian Jeff Portnoy is best known for his leading roles in sophomoric comedies, and may be less well known for his rampant drug use. Five time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus is a serious method actor, who immerses himself in whatever the role. On location in southeast Vietnam, they are the stars of "Tropic Thunder", based on Vietnam war veteran 'Four Leaf' Tayback's memoirs of his rescue during the war, that rescue which was considered a near suicide mission for the assigned army force and resulted in him losing both hands. For his role, Caucasian Australian Lazarus even went through a controversial surgical skin dying procedure so that he could convincingly play a black man. Production is not going well since rookie director Damien Cockburn is unable to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Get Some See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una guerra de película  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$92,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,812,796 (USA) (15 August 2008)

Gross:

$110,416,702 (USA) (7 November 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several disability advocacy criticized the "Simple Jack" subplot, a movie-within-a-movie in which Ben Stiller's character portrays a mentally disabled man. The film includes clips of the fictitious movie and re-enactments by Stiller. Scenes between Robert Downey Jr. and Stiller drew particular scorn for their repeated use of the word "retard". Producers took down a "Simple Jack" website, and proposed altering the movie in response to a special early screening for the disability groups in question, but did not change the film. According to co-writer Etan Cohen, the scenes were meant the satirize emotionally exploitative depictions of mental disability in movies such as Rain Man (1988), Forrest Gump (1994), I Am Sam (2001), and Radio (2003), and the actors who take these roles. See more »

Goofs

After the director and actors land in the jungle the director says he will shoot with his video camera. As he is talking and turning around the position of his hand holding the camera changes. First he holds it from underneath then as he turns and the films camera changes angles he is holding it from the top of his camera. See more »

Quotes

Studio Executive Rob Slolom: Wow. 8 Oscars, 400 million dollars, and you saved Tugg Speedman's career.
Les Grossman: I couldn't have done it without you.
Studio Executive Rob Slolom: Really?
Les Grossman: No, dickhead. Of course I could. A nutless monkey could do your job. Now, go get drunk and take credit at all the parties.
Studio Executive Rob Slolom: I wouldn't do that.
Les Grossman: Ah... joking.
Studio Executive Rob Slolom: Ah, there he is! Funny. You're a funny guy.
Les Grossman: Yeah. But seriously, a nutless monkey could do your job.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tom Cruise (as Les) dances and the end credits start. Scenes from the movie are mixed in. See more »

Connections

References Action Jackson (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Ready Set Go
Written by Nick Grant
Performed by Ben Gidsjoy
Courtesy of Sublime Music
By Arrangement with Zync Music Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"He Who Must Not Be Named" brings down the house, steals what is probably the smartest, dumbest, and arguably the best comedy of 2008
13 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Very rarely do comedies hit the mark in terms of both smart humor and dumb humor in the same movie, let alone the same scene. That's what we've got with Tropic Thunder, a comedy that excels in both satirical jokes and laugh out loud stupidity. If you're game for any of that, in addition to quite possibly the funniest and most shocking cameos of all time, then Tropic Thunder is the perfect movie to close the summer of 2008 with.

Ben Stiller has always been the poster boy for trying to mix these two severely different types of humor recently, and has failed in his other two main directing attempts (although Zoolander was funny). Here, he more than succeeds in making Hollywood the laughingstock of the summer, and who better than Stiller to do so, someone who has been around the business his entire life.

Obviously, what's going to get the most laughs is our cast, which is one of the best comedy casts assembled, in my opinion. Our supporting performers are just as strong, if not stronger than our big three leads (definitely stronger than Jack Black), and we are treated to some of the funniest cameos of all time...One of Tropic Thunder's cameos, one of the most famous and serious actors in the world, nearly steals the movie, and is funnier than the last time he did a role like this (Austin Powers 3). If you don't know who I'm talking about by now, just wait until you see him. He'll have you on the floor laughing by the end of the movie. Other cameos (including a Judd Apatow boy and a former People's Sexiest Man Alive) are entertaining, but they have nothing on the big guy.

Now, to the actual cast...Starting with Stiller himself. Stiller has always been great at playing over the top asses, and that's what his character here is. There's plenty of exaggeration, plenty of laughs, but I felt there could have been more arrogance and more development in his character. The film belongs to Robert Downey Jr. (why am I not shocked by this?), who could sneak a Golden Globe nomination in if he's lucky for his performance as super-serious star Kurt Lazarus. Downey is absolutely hilarious, yet believable as this actor who believes acting is larger than life, and provides for the best satire of all. Jack Black is, if anything, forgettable and provided few laughs (though he does deliver one of the funniest lines of the movie). Jay Baruchel and Brandon Jackson are great in their supporting roles, and were the most well rounded characters (especially Baruchel). Danny McBride (three out of the last four movies I've watched have had this guy in it) of Pineapple Express is just as great here in another hilarious role tailor made for him. Nick Nolte is an odd presence, but an asset nonetheless. Steve Coogan's short role is memorable.

Stiller's main point in the film was obviously to make fun of Hollywood and his fellow actors as well, and he succeeds enormously. The fact that mentally challenged rights groups are calling for boycotts only proves Stiller's point: we all need to chill out, and stop taking things so seriously (where's The Joker when you need him?). The "bad" scene where the characters say 'retard' a few times is actually one of the best satire scenes in the movie. The scene isn't making fun of mentally challenged people, rather the actors that have won Oscars for playing them. Dustin Hoffman and Peter Sellers are not spared.

Like Pineapple Express before it, Tropic Thunder suffers from a less than stellar second act, which is used to attempt to ground the film in reality. This is unnecessary. We know that this could never happen. Insurance policies wouldn't even let a director think about doing what Coogan's character does in this film. However, the film starts and finishes very well (in fact, it starts better than any comedy of the year). It finishes with roars of laughter, and even though it is just absurd, it doesn't matter, because we've had a great time along the ride. Yes, Tropic Thunder is vulgar, but nowhere near the other Apatow brand products out these days. There's some blood and graphic violence, but nothing too bad.


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