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Tropic Thunder (Two-Disc Unrated Director's Cut) - comedy DVD / comic action DVD review
Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Danny McBride, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan
Director: Ben Stiller   Distributor: Dreamworks Video
DVD release: 18 November 2008   Runtime: 122 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Filmmaker commentary, Cast commentary (Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr.), Before the Thunder (HD), The Hot LZ (HD), Blowing S&*t Up (HD), Designing the Thunder (HD), The Cast of Tropic Thunder (HD), Rain of Madness (HD), Dispatches from the Edge of Madness, Deleted and extended scenes (HD), Alternate Ending (HD), MTV Movie Awards-Tropic Thunder, Full Mags (HD), Video Rehearsals

Co-written, co-directed, and co-starring Ben Stiller (as Tugg Speedman), Tropic Thunder is a complete and total send-up of everything that is over-the-top in Hollywood: agents, producers, trailers, and everything in between.

A quick overview of the plot: A group of actors making a Vietnam War movie wander into the jungle where they get lost and are eventually confronted by real druglords who mistake them for DEA agents. The problem is, they still think they are making a movie and that all the gunfire and is part of the scene. Just so happens that the druglords also get mixed up and confused when the pyrotechnics guy sets off some explosives they think is directed towards them.

Now, throw all of that out of your mind because this movie easily has at least three or four of the year's biggest laughs or scenes in it, and it has less to do with the plot (or the plot inside the plot) of this hysterical-in-spots movie than the performances.

Most will say that Robert Downey Jr. (the star of the summer blockbuster Iron Man) single-handedly steals the show with his performance as Kirk Lazarus, an Oscar-winning Australian actor who immerses himself so deeply in this role that he dyes his skin black. There is no denying that he has some of the film's funniest dialogue, and his overall performance is spectacular considering it could have easily fallen to C. Thomas Howell's Soul Man (1986) level in the hands of a lesser actor.

But for me, it's the cameo from Tom Cruise as a fat, bald, extremely hairy, foul-mouthed producer from hell named Les Grossman that creates the most gut-busting, laugh-out-loud, rewind-it-and-watch-it-again moment, when Les is negotiating (though not really) via cellphone for the release of Stiller's character Tugg Speedman.

Along with Tugg and Kirk are Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), a rapper who is always promoting his energy drink booty sweat, and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), who is going through withdrawal from heroin for most of the movie.

Though uneven and a tad too long, Tropic Thunder is unabashed in its politically incorrect humor and pop culture-oriented dialogue - none more evident than the scene between Tugg Speedman and Kirk Lazarus where Tugg is told that he went "full retard." Yes, it's not for everyone, and it does have its flaws, but in the end Tropic Thunder has enough moments to make it worth your while.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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