Saturday, September 27, 2008

Movie review:Tropic Thunder

Parodies run the gamut. They can be anything from something where they actually develop a story and let the jokes flow out of that, but work in a lot of belly laugh jokes...say, the Airplane or The Naked Gun franchises, to something where simply referencing another movie is thought of as the joke. Somewhere in between are movies that are so full of inside jokes that they end up being at best marginally funny and at worst painful experiences that bring regret to all whom see them. Where does Tropic Thunder fall within this pantheon? It is hard to tell.

It partially depends on how knowledgeable the viewer is about "Hollywood insider" type stuff and how humorous he finds parody. Tropic is full of parody. It starts with some trailers that parody everything from sequels of sequels of sequels that carry on because the former one was successful rather than because it had a story to tell,  to movies that are supposed to be funny because one guy plays multiple parts and farts a lot to movies that use heavy-handed emotion to fool people into thinking a story is actually good.

Then it parodies the over anxiousness of special effects coordinators, the 'star behavior" that is often credited for ruining movies, the overpowered producers, the callousness of Hollywood, the way fictional books are presented as truth and true books are fictionalized, the attempts of actors to win Oscars by playing disabled people, and more. 

At some point you realize the actors are playing to the camera as much as they are to the Tropic Thunder camera. It is a movie within a movie within a movie. They have statements to make about how Hollywood takes itself way too seriously...but they do it by taking themselves too seriously sometimes. Which is odd, because virtually everyone in it parodies himself and is having fun with it.

There are a few laughs in the movie but they are mostly the type where you mainly smile inwardly and move on. 

This movie could have been great and no doubt many people will think it is but if you don't like to look beyond the service this is not the movie for you.

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