In Tropic Thunder (2008) a frustrated director (Steve Coogan) sends his actors into the jungle (filmed in Hawaii) to make a more realistic Vietnam-era film. Local drug runners mistake the actors as Drug Enforcement Officers. The actors mistake the drug runners for other actors attempting to induce better performances. Comedy ensues.
I liked Tropic Thunder a lot. I laughed a lot. The cinematography was beautiful.
It has a large ensemble case. Ben Stiller plays a an actor attempting to prop up a sagging action star career. Matthew McConaughey plays his agent – seemingly willing to do anything to keep his cash-cow of a client working. Jack Black plays a low-brow comic actor not concerned with much more than his next drug fix. Nick Nolte plays a Vietnam vet. The movie being made is based on his book.
Tom Cruise, dressed up in a fat suit and a bald-cap (looking a lot like James Lipton), played a wonderful, small part as an egomaniacal producer. the character is rumored to be modeled after Harvey Weinstein. Stiller hinted in a recent Charlie Rose interview that a spin-off staring Cruise’s Les Grossman character may be in the works. Tom was spectacularly good in this completely atypical role.
Robert Downey Jr. was outstanding as a Russell Crowe-inspired, Australian actor, playing a black man, playing a solider. As his character, Kirk Lazarus, put it:
"I know who I am. I’m a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude."
If you want a good laugh, I recommend Tropic Thunder.