Tuesday, 14 October 2008

First Review: Tropic Thunder.

So I was thinking of how I should rate these movies.  The classic 5 star system, or some sort of percentage system, or even try to be 'unique' by pilfering Roger Ebert's 4 star system.  Well, I've decided to follow the IMdb and go for a 10 star rating thing.  I chose this because it means I can have more variety in my scores - because you can get an excellent 4 star movie and then a only great 4 star movie - without having the annoyance of giving a precise percentage mark.  In these reviews I will attempt to give away no more of the plot than what is revealed in the trailers, as it is a personal gripe of mine when reviewer give away twists of any sort.

On to the review.

Tropic Thunder surprised me.  It wasn't particularly good, it just wasn't the complete off-the-mark flop that many of my friends had led me to believe.  That being said, I do feel -  having recently watched Pineapple Express - that Ben Stiller and Justin Theroux could've just allowed for more jokes to shine through.  At times they seemed caught between slapstick and satire.  A prime example of this being the 'trailers' at the beginning of the film, surely over the top action films and rappers turned actors is easy fodder, but the audience I was a part of barely chuckled.  Often it felt as if there was a perfect set-up for a joke but no real punchline.  No real bite.  

On to the performances and Downey Jnr. shines through strongest, bringing back memories of the hilarious Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  Whereas, Jack Black and Ben Stiller seem muted and at times unsuited to the whole thing.  Ben Stiller just seemed out of place with bulging muscles and a tank top, I'm far too used to seeing him bungling his way through awkward situations and tripping over his own words. (I realise he was both bulging and tanktopped in Dodgeball but in Tropic Thunder it is much more understated.)  I also thought that Jay Baruchel and Brandon T. Jackson both held their own remarkably well alongside their more famous co-stars.  However, Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey both just proved a nuisance and annoyance every time they came on screen.  It felt like such a missed opportunity for the writers, here they have Tom Cruise playing a bald, fat, hairy, sweary man, who dances and they fail to make it funny.  Perhaps American audiences or perhaps my dislike of all his recent performances has made me biased, I'll leave up in the air. 

Anyway, quick summary as this is my first review and it is now 4 a.m.  Tropic Thunder feels like a missed opportunity, in the hands of more experienced writers I think it could have great.  But, as it is it only manages to get past average.  A good way to spend a hours with friends it certainly is, but not one I personally will be reliving. 

-later on I promise to make a nice wee image for the stars here, just not right now-

reivews upcoming: Step Brothers

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