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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 101 | January 11, 2009|


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Movie Review

Compiled by Tawsif Saleheen

Tropic Thunder is outrageously funny. And not like Hancock where you laugh at the movie. With Tropic Thunder you laugh with the movie all the way through.

This film revolves chiefly around the increasing calamities of a hugely overblown war movie being shot in Vietnam. Based on the memoir of Vietnam vet Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte), who lost both hands while in a prison camp, the movie seems destined for failure because of the clashing egos of its motley crew of stars. In the lead role as Tayback is Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), an action star whose celebrity and credibility have faltered in the wake of a misguided attempt at serious acting. In supporting roles are comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), best known for a franchise based around his ability to fart on command, Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), a young rapper with his own brand of soda called Booty Sweat, and Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), an unknown hoping for stardom. The only credible actor in the film is Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), a five-time Oscar winner who controversially turned down the lead role in favour of playing a black soldier, going so far as to undergo a skin pigmentation alteration procedure.

When their frazzled director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) is pressured by studio head Les Grossman to straighten out the troubled production, he's inspired by "Four Leaf" to drop the whole bottled water and latte studio safe filmmaking and toss the pansies out in the middle of the jungle for a real war game designed to elicit real fear. He intends to film it all with hidden digital video cameras and capture the true horrors of war. But, like the Three Amigos, these actors discover that they're in something more dangerous than an acting exercise as they begin to trade blank gunfire with real bullets aimed at them from ruthless drug running locals.

The cast is perfect and, of course, what could have been a terrible idea is turned into comedy gold by the incredible performance by Downey, Jr. who inhabits the black Kirk Lazarus so completely that it's actually somewhat disappointing to watch the makeup come off at the end.

All in all, Tropic Thunder is a must watch in this winter.

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