Are you ready for another Vietnam War comedy? Ready or not, here comes Tropic Thunder , a big Hollywood film from Dreamworks Pictures. The movie stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. as neurotic actors making an in-country Vietnam War film. Tropic Thunder , which Stiller co-wrote and directed, will hit the nation’s multiplexes on August 15.
This movie within a movie has generated a bit of pre-premiere publicity because the character Downey plays is an ultra-method actor who takes on a role that was written for a black actor. So Downey, a white man, gets made up to play an African-American.
“If it’s done right, it could be the type of role you called Peter Sellers to do 35 years ago, ” Downey told US magazine. “If you don’t do it right, we’re going to hell.”
This will be, by my count, the fourth Vietnam War-themed movie comedy. The first one–Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)–was hysterically funny, for about 20 minutes. Then the humor vanished when the plot got serious. Robin Williams was a stitch, but the movie sunk when he moved into the jungle and faced the war head on. Air America (1990) and Operation Dumbo Drop (1995)–had their moments, but were nothing special. Forrest Gump (1995) had plenty of funny moments, but that did not include its realistic in-country Vietnam War scene.