Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller (2008)

A disappointment but not without its merits. Being the kind of geek who gets really excited about hall-of-mirrors scenarios like Hearts of Darkness, a movie about a movie that went off the rails depicting a historical event that went off the rails and based on a novel about a different historical event that went off the rails, Stiller’s premise can’t help but pique my interest. And there are some features here which bring similar if lesser pleasures, like the symmetry of two scenes, one early and one late, identically scripted and acted, but the former a representation of a representation of a tragedy and the latter a representation of one. But on the whole Stiller can’t decide if he wants to be Pirandello or the Farrelly brothers, and so dissatisfies on both levels. Still, you have to go see this movie to see Tom Cruise, whose vicious turn as the grubbiest studio Shylock in history made me want to roll on the floor laughing, write an angry letter to the editor, and take a long nap, all at the same time. Postmodernity is wearing me out. Or should I say “postmodernity.” Nap, I think.

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