Knee-jerk review: "Tropic Thunder"

1. Yeah, it's pretty funny in places. But it's also kind of a narrative mess, ping-ponging all over the place. For every broad, silly joke there's a more subtle and clever jab and that makes for a very uneven experience.
2. Why is Jack Black even in this movie? He's completely wasted and rather annoying at that. You cut him out and you wouldn't even miss him.
3. The same goes for the rapper-turned-actor character Alpa Chino. A sort of clever idea that never really pans out. The whole thing feels undercooked.
4. Robert Downey, Jr., however, is the man. You can't stop marveling that someone as good as him is in something as crazy as this.
5. "You m-m-m-m-make me happy." Hilarious. And anyone you tells you it's offensive needs to get over it. The trend of actors seeking awards by playing a handicapped character is what's offensive (see Sean Penn in I Am Sam, Juliette Lewis in The Other Sister, Rosie O'Donnell in Riding the Bus with My Sister, or really, even Tom Hanks in the ridiculously overrated Forrest Gump - all of them doing the kind of mentally handicapped voice that we all mastered in the third grade), not a comedy that mocks that kind of narcissistic pandering.
6. Matthew McConaughey needs to just go away. Don't we all have those secret lists of celebrities whom we'd like to give a one-way ticket to a deserted island? Put him at the top of our list. He no longer even tries to play a character. He's just being Matthew McConaughey, oily and half-stoned.
7. It could be argued that the fake trailers that open the movie are more clever than the movie itself.
8. Danny McBride is a genius.
9. Best sight gag involves a dead panda. Too funny.
10. We should also perhaps discuss Tom Cruise's "cameo" as a fat, balding, profane studio head. Get it? He's, like, totally playing against type! How clever! We can, like, totally forget about how creepy he really is in the real world! If it wasn't so smugly self-congratulatory, so transparent in its attempt to make Cruise seem hip and relevant, it might be halfway amusing. But it's not. Cruise's performance is way over the top and his scenes throw the whole movie out of whack.

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