Movie Disguised as Another Movie

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Tropic Thunder - Movie PosterTROPIC THUNDER is an R-rated comedy that is a spoof of war movies, of Hollywood actors, and of Hollywood itself, but the best thing in it is a famous actor spoofing himself that you might not even recognize.

And, no, I am not talking about Robert Downey, Jr.

Nor am I talking about Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Nick Nolte, or Matthew McConaughey, who also appear in the movie.

The story is about the modern-day making of a Vietnam war movie, and it is one of those disastrous efforts in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and then even more goes wrong on top of that. In fact, after just five days of shooting in Southeast Asia, the project is already one month behind schedule.

The studio wants to shut down the production, but the director comes up with a novel plan to save time and money. He sets the five main actors down in the middle of the jungle, tells them that they have to reach a certain destination on a map, explosions will go off around them, hidden cameras will record the action, and the scene won’t be over until they reach their final destination.

Unfortunately, something goes horribly wrong right at the start and the production shuts down, but the actors don’t know that and keep following the plan.

One of them is Kirk Lazarus, an Australian five-time Oscar winner who is the epitome of method acting. He is playing a Black sergeant, has undergone a skin treatment that actually turned his skin dark, and he stays in character, he says, until he does the DVD commentary for the movie.

In fact, he says, “I’m the dude playing the dude, disguised as another dude.”

So, the movie becomes a one-joke movie: lost in the jungle without a clue.

But the actors fight among themselves, one gets separated from the rest, and it becomes a two-joke movie.

Then they encounter a drug gang whom they mistake for actors playing enemy soldiers, and it becomes a three-joke movie.

Finally, back in Hollywood the foul-mouthed head of the studio is ranting and raving, the lead actor’s agent is trying to negotiate perks for his client, and it becomes a four-joke movie.

TROPIC THUNDER is best described as a movie playing the movie, disguised as another movie.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”