Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropic Thunder

When I first saw the pre-views for this, my first reaction was: oh, I’ve seen all this crap before. And really, you have. The movie centers around a group of over the top actors filming a war movie, and by a twist of fate and a cruel idea from the director, they are plunged into some real life combat with scary mercenaries working at a heroin refinement plant. Basically, actors thinking bullets and danger are all part of the set, and comedy ensues. Aside from having a less than original plot, it’s quite entertaining. And who goes into a comedy expecting great acting and a superb plot?

There are even fake pre-views and ads at the first for the characters movies, and those are some of the best moments of the film. And Robert Downey Jr’s character transforms himself into an African-American guy, and plays an absolutely hilarious racial stereotype, which steals the comedy thunder of Jack Black and Ben Stiller when they are on camera together. Jack Black and Ben Stiller do their usual comedy routines; Black does the loud and crazy guy, and Stiller does his clueless and illogical dumb guy. That alone carries the first half or so of the movie. Once again, even though you have seen it before, it’s still pretty funny.

The latter half of the show gets a little slow. The funny parts get more and more sparse, and it mostly just spends its time setting up for the end, which has quite a few chuckles, but does not redeem itself for letting you get a little bored. I’m not kidding, there were a few times I thought of listing points in the movie that would be ideal piss breaks.

All in all: Nonsense and nuisance in a neat package.

Lives up to the pre-views? Falls a little short.

Stars (out of five): 3


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pineapple Express

First thing's first: you must go into this movie not expecting typical stoner humor. The humor is mostly conversational sarcasm, with only a bit of over the top type physical comedy. The main character works a government job, dates a high school girl and is constantly smoking pot. When his job puts him into a situation where he accidentally witnesses a murder, he and his burned out hippie dealer must go on the run from a ruthless drug lord and crooked police officers. The typical buddy comedy conflicts arise, and there are parts where I was rolling in laughter. However, be prepared to mostly chuckle at the witty (or wit-less) banter of stoners.

The movie is also surprisingly brutal at times, and makes you laugh at rather harsh violence. There are several fist fights that actually make you cringe when they are hit and slammed into things, but still making you giggle the entire time- especially when lots of silly things are used as weapons. There is one character that gets shot pretty much every time he is in a fight, and just does not seem to die. It's great humor. You just have to be in the right mind-set to be able to get the most out of this movie.

Even though this is great entertainment and I loved watching it- nothing out of the normal plot formulas for this type of flick occurred. The dialogue was great, the little physical comedy was great, the acting was timed for comedy delivery perfectly- it just failed to leap into anything that is original. And it very well could have, just some wasted potential. I would recommend seeing it, but I would not buy the DVD.

Lives up to the pre-views? Falls a little short- or not.

All in all: Stoned banter and stray bullets.

Stars (out of five): 3