‘Tropic Thunder’ not a blunder

David Wiens

By now most of you have already seen “Tropic Thunder” or aren’t planning to. But if there’s any of you still left on the fence waiting to find out if it’s really funny, then it’s time to get into the theater.

I’ll admit that the trailers for “Tropic Thunder” left little to be desired and the sitcomesque plot it showed had me worried this was a slightly more professional version of “Bowfinger,” i.e. a pair of comedians past their prime making a bad movie about making bad a movie in a completely unrealistic and unbelievable situation.

Thankfully, the script turned out to be more of an “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in that Stiller has been sitting on the idea for a long time but just hadn’t been able to get it in a script he liked until now. Even more surprising was that instead of the expected ‘it’s funny because the movie they’re supposed to be making is awful and nobody knows what they’re doing,’ the story surprised me again by using problems that could and would come up to drive the director into dropping these actors into the jungle so he can shoot the movie cheap and edgy.

What really amazed me was not that the movie turned out to be funny, but that the script story dared to navigate a figurative (and at times literal) minefield of plot holes.

Don’t get me wrong; it cuts it pretty close a few times with Tugg Speedman’s (Stiller) insistence that they were still shooting a movie, but I guess every action movie needs a moment when you think they’re going to fall.

That being said there is one bright and shiny reason to like this movie; the characters. Although Stiller and Black give their stock performances of characters they always seem to do, their familiar portrayals are quickly eclipsed by the host of bizarre, unpredictable and often desperate people in the rest of the movie. It’s worth the money to go see Tom Cruise as a balding, overweight producer alone. Well, that, and everyone calling Rick Peck (McConaughey) “pecker.”