Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tropic Thunder Redux

I finally got around to watching my Tropic Thunder DVD this weekend. Sadly, upon second viewing the movie isn’t as hilarious as I remember. Some parts are still laugh-out-loud hilarious, of course, mostly the jokes that are character-based, but the overall impact is a little dulled. That’s always the risk with movies that rely a lot on outrageous gags for laughs, they don’t have a high repeat laugh quotient.

DreamWorks stuck an, um, interesting little surprise on the first disc. If you go to the main menu, click Special Features, click More, and click under the Previews on the thing that says DreamWorks Public Service Announcement, you’ll get to watch a minute and a half long PSA about people with intellectual disabilities, that says “People with intellectual disabilities deserve only one R word. Respect.” Alas, there is no PSA about not donning blackface, so they haven’t really covered all their bases as far as making reparations to the people they offended.

Also, the most popular Google search leading people to this blog is “Who played Rick Peck’s son in Tropic Thunder?” Like, at least a few people a day, every day, which – huh. Surprised that there are so many people out there caring, it’s such a throwaway bit in the movie. At any rate, I still don’t know the answer to that, just that he’s not really Ben Stiller’s nephew Carl but rather some unnamed actor. The cast commentary is not really enlightening on that front. Over the brief shot of the kid and McConaughey in the first act, Jack Black says, “Dude, that kid in the picture was the same one we used in the, uh, in the MTV short.” And Ben Stiller says, “Yes, we ended up using that kid in the MTV short because the kid was so good.” Then they go back to the commentary, which is amusing in some places, but mostly unsettling because Robert Downey Jr. chose to do the majority of it using his Lazarus voice and patois. Until the end, when he switches to the Australian accent. The man is a mad genius – and from day to day I vacillate between which half of that phrase to emphasize.

I still say the movie is worth seeing, and the extras are pretty good as far as these things go. And damn if Jay Baruchel and Brandon T. Jackson aren’t still the funniest freaking people to hit the screen in a long, long while.

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