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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.

Director:

Ben Stiller

Writers:

Justin Theroux (screenplay), Ben Stiller (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
1,074 ( 102)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Kahn ... Snooty Waiter - Fatties Trailer
Robert Downey Jr. ... Kirk Lazarus - Hot LZ
Anthony Ruivivar ... Platoon Sergeant Shot in Head - Hot LZ
Jack Black ... Jeff Portnoy - Hot LZ
Jay Baruchel ... Kevin Sandusky - Hot LZ
Brandon T. Jackson ... Alpa Chino - Hot LZ
Ben Stiller ... Tugg Speedman - Hot LZ
Eric Winzenried ... Chopper Pilot - Hot LZ
Steve Coogan ... Damien Cockburn - Vietnam Crew
Valerie Azlynn ... Damien's Assistant - Vietnam Crew
Matt Levin ... Cameraperson - Vietnam Crew
David Pressman ... First Assistant Director - Vietnam Crew
Amy Stiller ... Script Supervisor - Vietnam Crew
Danny McBride ... Cody - Vietnam Crew
Dempsey Silva 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:

The movie they think they're making... isn't a movie anymore. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Germany

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

13 August 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tropic Thunder See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$92,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,812,796, 17 August 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$110,515,313

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$188,072,649
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It took fifteen takes to get Steve Coogan's nose to bleed during the video conference scene with Tom Cruise's character. Each actor's part was filmed separately, with Justin Theroux serving as Cruise's stand-in during Coogan's filming. See more »

Goofs

After Tugg (Ben Stiller) split up from the group, the three can be seen walking through the jungle. Jeff (Jack Black) is walking at the end of the group and shot from 3 different angles while claiming he's tired of carrying the gun. The way of carrying changes between shots from hanging from his shoulder to holding in his hands. See more »

Quotes

Kirk Lazarus: [looking at the stars] Man that's beauty! Nights like tonight make a man wonder what it's all about.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Movie begins with advertisement and fake trailers where the "actors" appear. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a director's extended cut which is available on the 3-disc special edition in the UK which contains more footage - runtime of overall film is 116 minutes on back of DVD case. See more »

Connections

References A Cry in the Dark (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Do Me!
(1990)
Written by Ricky Bell (as Ricardo Bell), Michael Lamont Bivins (as Michael Bivins), Carl Bourelly & Ronnie DeVoe
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

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 The_Amazing_Spy_RisesSee 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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