Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tropic Thunder - Kate's Perspective

Ever been looking forward to something so much for so long that when it finally came out, you practically tried to force yourself to love it, even though you really didn't? That, unfortunately, was my reaction to Tropic Thunder, which I saw Wednesday when it came out. It's a pity, because I loved just about everything about the premise, plus the vast majority of the actors (Ben Stiller can get annoying, but he directed Zoolander, so I was hoping this directorial attempt would be similar). I loved the idea. I loved the actors. I loved the trailers. But I just didn't love the movie.

It wasn't terrible--don't get me wrong. There were some things that TT did right. Spoilers ahead--ye be warned. For instance, has Matthew McConaughey ever been funny before? (At least, intentionally?) And yet he was one of the best things about this movie, particularly in his final scene, where he bursts through the trees in the jungle, mud-streaked and sweating, triumphantly hoisting a TiVo over his head. It was a moment of pure genius. Similarly wonderful were Tom Cruise's impassioned and awkwardly overblown rant to the leaders of a drug ring on the phone, the fake trailers in the beginning (particularly Satan's Alley), and Stiller's revelation about the wisdom of adopting a boy from the village. Really, the first 20 minutes and the last 15 were pretty near flawless.

But the rest of the movie--the remaining hour and 15 minutes--just didn't do it for me. The jokes from earlier in the movie were recycled until they lost their humor; there was unnecessary, drawn-out, unfunny gore; and when they couldn't think of a joke to use, they resorted to just gross situations and language (Jack Black's "proposition" while tied to the tree was funny at first, but then just got uncomfortable). One thing that disappointed me was that Damien Cockburn died right away, as I thought he was actually one of the better characters. There wasn't anything hideously wrong with the movie, but it just kind of fizzled into blandness; it simply wasn't spectacular, which is sad for a film with such great potential.

I won't advise you not to go see Tropic Thunder, but neither can I really recommend it. I'm pretty sure you can see all the truly funny moments on YouTube--Satan's Alley really can't be missed, and the trailers for the actual movie are great, but the rest of it makes for really expensive nap time.

Final rating: C-