Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder will probably be the last summer 2008 movie I see, and it was a fine one to finish with. Reviews were mixed, and PC advocates were up in arms (link from Morning News), but I found it a very silly, very funny film. Yes, it was big, loud, and often stupid. I don’t have a problem with that in a summer movie, because it also had sharp clever moments and was a lot of fun.
Stiller is a has-been action hero pining for prestige. Robert Downey, Jr. plays a method actor playing a black man, a double-layered performance that was dizzying to watch. And Tom Cruise is hilarious and mesmerizing as the balding, fat, profane studio head. His over-the-top dance sequence that caps the movie is a simultaneously disgusting and hilarious homage to his star-making scene from Risky Business.
Tropic Thunder was one of many enjoyable movies this summer, most of which were a good blend of quality and entertainment. Things started strong for me with Iron Man, continued with Wall E, hit a high point with The Dark Knight, and still finished well with Hellboy II, Mamma Mia! and Tropic Thunder. I found all these films worth the price of admission, popcorn and Junior Mints.