I was about to do a more recent movie post, when I realised I had neglected Tropic Thunder. Vaguely understandable, considering I watched it on one of those super-hot days. In January. Which was perfect, really, pairing the horribly hot and humid brain-melting weather with the comedy and ease of this movie. That said, it was a while ago, so please don't expect great things here...
Now, the last Ben Stiller movie I watched was Greenberg. There is a reason he is better known for his comedies. So, not expecting anything great or serious, I was hoping this would be a return to form for him. Thankfully, this was the case. And there was so much more.
We still had the Personal Journey Plot Device, alongside the Group Dynamics-Work as a Team theme. But we also had rather a Shakespearean element. You know the actor playing an actor playing a soldier thing. Or are they...? And, even better, the white guy playing a black guy and staying in character the whole way. Only because I knew, from the friend who showed it to me as well as from the advertising, did I realise that Tom Cruise and Robert Downey, Jr, were in this. I love it when an actor is so well-disguised in a role that I don't recognise who they are. (This doesn't often happen). We also saw a bit of what I think of as the Truman Show Device, in which people believe the reality with which they are presented. And it's this that I find most interesting. We accept so much of our situation, but how often do we try to step outside of that and find another perspective? In a way, we are all acting our life stories, but do we convince ourselves or others? Do we live our lives so truly that others see us as we really are, or do we act out our lives so convincingly that we convince ourselves that that is who we really are?
It was funny, as promised. Although set during the Vietnam War, there were only two gruesome bits, and one of those was rather comedic. I was warned about it, so I could deal. It sends up the outrageous things involved in movie-making. The person who seems the craziest turns out to be the only one who can get the job done. It doesn't try to be a serious movie - it actually looks like a whole lot of actors got together and said, wouldn't it be fun if... and so they did.