Tropic Thunder


Tropic Thunder

Critics Consensus

With biting satire, plenty of subversive humor, and an unforgettable turn by Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder is a triumphant late Summer comedy.



Total Count: 242


Audience Score

User Ratings: 296,434
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Tropic Thunder Photos

Movie Info

Ben Stiller's satirical look at Hollywood, Tropic Thunder concerns the production of an epic Vietnam War film that quickly derails thanks to the giant egos of everyone involved in the production. Stiller stars as Tugg Speedman, an action hero trying to segue out of that genre. Jack Black plays Jeff Portnoy, a drug-addicted fat comic also attempting to change his image by taking on such a serious film. They star alongside Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), one of the world's most awarded actors, and a man who insists on immersing himself totally in a role. In this case, that means Lazarus has had his skin dyed in order to portray an African-American soldier. After their outrageous behavior lands the film's director, Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan), in very hot water with producer Les Grossman (Tom Cruise), Cockburn takes the advice of grizzled Vietnam vet Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte); in order to gain control of his performers, Cockburn drops the actors off in the jungle, planning to film the movie guerrilla-style with hidden cameras. When the group stumbles upon a heroin production camp, the actors are unaware that they are in very real danger. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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Jack Black
as Jeff 'Fats' Portnoy
Ben Stiller
as Speedman
Robert Downey Jr.
as Kirk Lazarus
Jay Baruchel
as Kevin Sandusky
Nick Nolte
as Four Leaf Tayback
Bill Hader
as Studio Executive Rob Slolom
Tom Cruise
as Les Grossman
Eric Winzenried
as chopper pilot
Valerie Azlynn
as Damien's assistant
Matt Levin
as cameraperson
Amy Stiller
as script supervisor
David Pressman
as First assistant director
Dempsey Silva
as special effects assistant
Justin Theroux
as Jan Jurgen
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News & Interviews for Tropic Thunder

Critic Reviews for Tropic Thunder

All Critics (242) | Top Critics (53) | Fresh (197) | Rotten (45)

  • Though some of the caricatures wear thin, some of the acting rises to a high level.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity
    Top Critic
  • Tiptoes to the fine line between irony and insight and blows it to smithereens. It's hilarious.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: B+
  • Cruise and particularly Downey are something to behold: They give this Thunder its lightning.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Tropic Thunder gives us exactly what we expect of it - lashings of easy fun, spare-no-expense action, actors delightedly pushing the boat out in all-out parody and a dig at the absurdity of Hollywood that the big boys back in LA will find quite comforting

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 2/5
  • This is cheap rum. The Apocalypse Now pyrotechnics clearly cost a fortune. But the pleasures of Tropic Thunder are spread as thinly as Ben Stiller. He not only stars, he directs, co-writes, produces, and undoubtedly made the tea.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • But its better moments of self-referential snark, such as an ace cameo from Tom Cruise as an obnoxious studio exec, have the feel of a superior end-of-term revue.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/6

    Ben Walters

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tropic Thunder

  • Oct 06, 2017
    Interesting film that mixes genres successfully and showcases Stiller as a genuine director not just for comedy. The film maintains a frenetic pace for the first half but the jokes soon run dry as it moves to a rescue mission. I understand the films success but it isn't a classic or remembered as fondly as many other comedies. The film is well cast with some hilarious movie promos at the beginning, poking fun at the mega budgeted films of Hollywood. I liked the film and would recommend it but it's not a great film, not a cult film like Zoolander. Stiller should make more films as director as he clearly has an eye for the craft. 06-10-2017.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2016
    A pretty bad movie. Not very funny either.
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2016
    It took me a while to get around to seeing this. I like the idea of it and the fact it isn't afraid to poke fun and parody the big Hollywood names. Not as funny as it could have been but it is still enjoyable.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2014
    One of the smartest comedies I've ever seen; hyper self-aware. Consistently funny and often laugh out loud hilarious, both in concept and execution.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer

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